V. V. S. LAXMAN ON BENGAL’S CHANCES IN THE
UPCOMING SYED MUSTAQ ALI TROPHY
29th December 2020
1. Do you think Abhimanyu’s captaincy affected his batting?
I don't think captaincy will affect Abhimanyu Easwaran's performances at all. I believe with additional responsibility in fact much better. That's what he has been doing for Bengal for so many years, he's been a prolific run-getter. He performed not only for Bengal but also in the opportunities he got for India A he has done exceedingly well. That's why I don't think the extra responsibility of leading this side will affect his batting.
2. Will you suggest different captains for different formats?
I am not a big believer or supporter of split captaincy. I think if your best leader pr best captain is not an automatic choice in all formats then it will work. But if your captain is an automatic choice and a performer in all three formats then he should lead the side in all the formats. That will help in creating consistency within the group and also creating a culture within the group which will help the team to move forward.
3. Have you spoken about the lower order getting runs?
The importance of lower order getting runs has been discussed. We also worked very hard to make sure that each and every batsman at the camp whether he's a top order batter, middle order or a late order batsman gets enough balls to hit. Luckily all of them looked in real good touch because there will be times especially in T20 cricket when you want to finish off the innings well. Because you may have started well, you can consolidate in the middle orders but if you don't finish off well then, the opposition team will come back into the game and you are not taking advantage of the good start that your top order batsmen gave. The lower order point of pressure is very much important, we will address that and I am sure that the lower order batsmen will perform well in the upcoming Mushtaq Ali tournament.
4. What are the positives and areas of improvement?
I think the positives are that as always, the players are dedicated, very committed to work hard and eager to learn and improve. There was one area that we required to work on and that the top order batsmen to take responsibility and win matches instead of leaving it to some other batsmen to finish it off the innings or win the match. So then something we try to do especially in the match stimulation where we wanted the top order batsmen not necessary to get a hundred but stay there till the end and win the match. Whenever the top order batsman stays till the sixteenth or seventeenth over automatically the pressure will be on the opposition bowlers and we will be in a strong position. So that's something we're really focused on and in the practice matches we have already got three hundreds and that's something that we want to continue in the Mushtaq Ali trophy.
5. How is the preparation of Bengal?
I think the Bengal players are really well prepared. I was very happy the way the batsmen were hitting the ball, I think the Bengal T20 Challenge which was highly competitive helped them to be in good touch, good rhythm at the start of the camp. All of them are looking in great touch, I just hope that they convert this form into consistent performances, play match winning knocks and win the tournament for Bengal.
6. Are you hopeful of Bengal making an impact in the meet?
I am quite upbeat and positive about Bengal's chances in the coming Mushtaq Ali tournament because I always give a lot of importance and emphasis on preparation and I think the preparation has been brilliant. All the players worked really hard; the support staff structured the preparatory phase in a professional manner. They have had long net sessions, also had a lot of match stimulation and also played four or five practice matches- one or two under lights. I think overall the preparation has been brilliant and it's now up to them to translate that into performances, play to their potential, show a lot of self-belief and take the right decision under pressure. Once they do that, I am sure they will realise their dream.
7. Young talents in Bengal team
I think the Bengal T20 Challenge has unearthed a lot of young talents. And I am really excited about it. The best thing about working with young players is that they are not only talented but also confident and they can handle pressure. In T20 cricket you have to make the right decision especially when you are under pressure and that I can see in them. It is very difficult to name one or two, there are a lot of young upcoming talents in both the batting and bowling department.
8. What strategy should Bengal adopt considering there will be big teams?
When you play the Mushtaq Ali Trophy you will be a part of a few good teams. It is important to know your strengths and not be concerned about what the other teams are doing. As long as we focus on our strengths and execute our game plan and strategy, I’m sure we will do well. And luckily Bengal plays at home and players can take advantage of home conditions.
9. How difficult is it to adapt to the bio-bubble experience?
It’s a different experience being in the bio bubble. Luckily for the Bengal boys they have experienced it while playing the Bengal T20 Meet. I think the most important part of this is to be disciplined, follow the guideline and protocols because it’s for the safety and well being of the players and everyone involved. It is important that the players understand that and show discipline. As far as the game is concerned it will be the same. They will go to the ground and play matches or do practice sessions. I’m sure they will be able to sue the gym in the hotel also. I’m sure they will stay in a good hotel where the staff will take all necessary precautions for countering Covid. I think the players will be happy that they are playing this tournament and BCCI has to be complemented for first organising the IPL in such a professional manner and I’m sure they will organise this meet also in the same manner where everyone’s safety is taken care of. So I think the players will be happy that they are playing in Mushtaq Ali and the small sacrifice they have to make is follow the guidelines and stay disciplined and maintain those protocols.
CAB MEDIA DESK