‘He leads by example both on and off the field’: VVS Laxman hails India's stand-in skipper ahead of 1st T20I vs New Zealand
The Indian team, after crashing out of the recently concluded T20 World Cup, is looking to regroup and make amends for their past failings. India embark on a new journey Down Under with a T20I tour against New Zealand. The Men in Blue will lock horns with the Kiwis on Friday, November 18, and many players with budding careers, without question, will be looking to gain some expertise.
Leading a fairly fresh squad raring to go is acting captain Hardik Pandya, who many believe should be the successor to Rohit Sharma in T20I cricket. Along with Rohit, head coach Rahul Dravid has also been given a respite and to fill in for him is VVS Laxman as India’s head coach. Ahead of the clash, VVS Laxman addressed the media where he spoke about how the boys are gelling up with preparations.
"It has been an enjoyable ride for me so far, when I joined NCA, it was all about contributing to Indian cricket and this is an opportunity to spend time and share my knowledge with the youngsters, it has been fulfilling. What straightaway struck me in Ireland was that these youngsters are very talented, but at the same time, they always want to learn and grow as cricketers and that for me is very exciting," said Laxman.
"There is definitely a lot of cricket being played. There is no doubt about that and that is where Indian cricket is very fortunate where we have so many players to choose from. As team management, and selection committee, you need to be very mindful of when to give certain players a break. Breaks are important for players not only get physically rejuvenated but also mentally. India is lucky to have that kind of pool of players from whom you can choose.
"I think in white-ball cricket, you require specialists players, I think that going forward, T20 will see a lot of T20 specialists but managing their workload and at the same time, choosing from the pool we have, is a blessing Indian cricket has," he added.
He also talked about the ‘fearless’ approach that is required in T20I cricket, the fearless approach that the Indian team lacked at the T20 World Cup. "I think T20 cricket requires playing with a lot of freedom and clarity of thought. And how much time I have spent with these guys and watching them grow over the years into wonderful international cricketers, I think that is their strength. In T20 cricket, you are required to play with a fearless attitude but at the same time, it is important to assess the conditions and situations and fulfil the needs of the team," said Laxman.
“It is important to be flexible. I think in T20 cricket, you are required to express yourself and that is when you will be successful. I think T20 cricket has shown us over the years that the more amount of multi-dimensional players you have, the better for the team. You have bowlers who can bat, and batters who can bowl, and that is the way forward. That has already been proven in T20 cricket, the number of bowlers who can bat will add depth to the team and it allows a lot of freedom for the batters to express themselves. That is the need for the format and I am sure more and more teams will try to get that into their selection process and identify players who are multi-dimensional players," he further added.
Laxman showered praises on the new Indian captain Hardik Pandya "He is a fabulous leader. We have seen what he has done with Gujarat Titans in the IPL. Taking leadership in the first year of the franchise in the tournament, and winning the league is not a mean achievement. I have spent a lot of time with him since the Ireland series, he is just not only tactically sound, but he is very calm on the field and that is something which is very important at the highest level."
“There would be situations when you would be under pressure and that is when you are required to be calm as a leader. Also, his presence in the dressing room and his work ethics are exemplary. The way he leads the side both on and off the field is fabulous. I think he is a players' captain, he is very approachable. All the players go up to him and confide with him. I think that is something which I really like about Hardik, and he leads by example both on and off the field," he added.