Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Former India batsman VVS Laxman has announced that the national team have to “substitute extensive preparation with smart preparation” when they travel overseas.
India have struggled away from home for years now and this season has been no different as they lost 1-0 during their tour of South Africa in December, 1-0 to New Zealand in February and most recently, 3-1 to England.
“In an ideal world, before we travel to Australia or South Africa, we would spend weeks together in camps, honing techniques against the bouncing ball or working out the lengths that are optimal for surfaces with pace and bounce,” Laxman said at the Pataudi Memorial Lecture in Kolkata on Wednesday. “But we do not live in an ideal world, what with tours packed into the calendar.
“Given that our first-class season these days starts in November, players are exposed to different conditions in various parts of India. In the north, the ball darts around in the winter and tests the technical expertise of the batsmen. Unfortunately, due to the packed international calendar, the national team players don’t always get to play first-class cricket.
“So today, we need to substitute extensive preparation with smart preparation. I am a great believer in playing to our strengths and maximising home advantage.”
Continuing on the topic of “maximising home advantage”, Laxman stated that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) should prepare spin-friendly pitches at every venue whenever another Test playing nation visits India.
“We must continue to play international cricket on pitches that suit our traditional strength, which is spin,” he said. “We must also identify at least one venue in each zone of where we can replicate surfaces we are most likely to find encounter overseas.
“In that way we can have proper preparatory camps in such venues before going on tour.”
Laxman also recalled how winning overseas gave him “the greatest satisfaction”.
“It is imperative that we prepare for overseas visits with diligence and intelligence,” Laxman said. “Performances at home can’t be devalued, but I can say from experience that the roles I played in India’s victories overseas have given me the greatest satisfaction. As a team, we must strive to be consistently successful when we travel away from our comfort zone.”