India will be a strong force in cricket in five years: VVS Laxman

VVS Laxman said that the team is in a transition phase and going in the right direction © Getty Images

Mumbai: Nov 27, 2012

Retired Indian cricketer VVS Laxman said that he expects Team India to be a strong force in world cricket in the next five years and is not worried about their current slump in form.

Laxman said that the team is in a transition phase following the retirement of players such as Rahul Dravid, Saurav Ganguly and Anil Kumble, but backs the side to do well overseas.

Asked where he saw the side in five years, Laxman told The Telegraph in an interview, “As a strong force internationally. This is a bit of a transition time and it seems to be going well.”

Laxman singled out the bowling department as one which India need to work on improving.

“We have good batsmen who’re young, but I’m a little concerned with our bowling resources. We need to identify quality bowlers and look after them.”

Asked if India would also better their overseas performance, Laxman said, “Of course, it’s not that we can’t.”

Sending out a message to young prospective cricketers in the country, Laxman said, “Set high standards and try to achieve them. Know what you’re passionate about and work hard towards it. Never give up.”

The 38-year-old, who gave 16 years of his life to Indian cricket, also said that consistency is what separates the men from the boys.

“Nowadays, the opposition gets to read you well very soon. It’s easy to make a good impression at the start itself, but staying consistent over a period of time is challenging.”

Laxman had no regrets about his retirement, but admitted that he would have liked to play the two home series against England and Australia, even though his “inner voice” said otherwise.

“I thought it was the right time to move on,” he said. “I didn’t look at what I might have wanted, but looked at the bigger canvas, Indian cricket… We’re playing 10 Tests at home this season, which is a big number, allowing somebody with little or no experience to settle down. It wasn’t an easy decision to make, though.”

“We didn’t do well in England and in Australia last season and with both playing in India this time, initially, I did want to play against them. However, as I’ve said, I looked at the bigger picture. When the inner voice calls, you should listen.”

Asked what his 16 years of international cricket taught him, Laxman said, “Cricket has taught me a lot, top of the list being to respect the game.

I owe a lot to my parents, who made me appreciate the importance of values, but cricket taught me much as well. I realised the importance of treating success and failure equally… To never get carried away and to never feel too low… Cricket built my character, taught me how to face adversities, how to share a rapport with teammates, how to communicate. The mindset of cricketers and sportsmen, generally, is very different to the others.”

Laxman still continues to play in the domestic circuit for Hyderabad. Asked about his motivation to continue playing at 38, he said, “…I want to give something back to the game and to the Hyderabad Cricket Association, which backed me when I needed encouragement and opportunities.”