Former cricketer VVS Laxman has played down the ongoing ‘coach controversy’ and feels that the issue will have no effect on India’s Champions Trophy campaign which commences in a matter of few days.
Since the last couple of days, the reports of a tiff between coach Anil Kumble and skipper Virat Kohli along with few seniors has come to light, raising concerns among former cricketers and fans.
“When you play for the country, all you want to do is go out there and give your best. You are representing a billion people, there is so much responsibility and expectations. All the distractions will be kept aside when the team walks out in the park,” said Laxman during an interview with Cricbuzz.
India will be opening their title defence against arch-rivals Pakistan at Edgbaston on June 4th. The much – talked about fixture is expected to put pressure on both the side as they meet after over a year’s gap. The excitement is palpable as usual.
Laxman states that beginning any tour with a high-pressure game has a positive impact but Virat Kohli and his men need to steer clear all the distractions from their mind.
“It’s always good (to start with a high-pressure match). I am sure the warm-up games would have given India the confidence and the right mindset to take on Pakistan. When you play against Pakistan, it is important to remove the distractions from the mind.”
“You have to focus on the task at hand and I am sure Virat will tell his team the same. It is about them going out and expressing themselves and playing their natural game. In recent times, whenever the Indian team has played its natural game, they have done well.”
He also emphasised that India will reach the top four without any hassle if the batting order maintains good form throughout the tournament.
“I don’t see any particular challenge. But when you are playing in England, it’s important the top four get going and one of them should go on to score a big one and be there until the end. When they won the Champions Trophy last time, the contributions of Shikhar (Dhawan) and Rohit (Sharma) were good.”
This edition of the Champions Trophy, which begins with England taking on Bangladesh today at the Kennington Oval, has very well balanced sides competing for the coveted prize. Hosts England is already predicted as one of the potential winners of the tournament while Australia, the perennial favourites of ICC tournaments, once against will be starting strong. India, too, has a strong backing and expected to reach the semi-finals. To predict the final four of a knockout themed multination tournament is very difficult. But, VVS Laxman has made his guess.
“If the bowlers do well, we can definitely win. But there are other good teams as well, it is difficult to predict the winner. I think England and Australia from Group ‘A’ and South Africa and India from Group ‘B’ will make the semi-finals.”