Windies key with Laxman, Kumble

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Two names will hold the key to India’s Test hopes in the West Indies, according to legendary stylist GR Viswanath, VVS Laxman and Anil Kumble.

Part of the famous Ajit Wadekar-led squad that won the intensely fought 1971 series 1-0, Viswanath says you just can’t ‘’write off experienced cricketers'’ as Rahul Dravid’s men attempt a much-awaited encore almost 25 years later.

“With Sachin Tendulkar not around, Laxman will provide the solidity in the middle order. With too many one-dayers, we have a number of youngsters around. Some of them fade out as quickly as they make it. People like Anil Kumble have taken 500 Test wickets, one can never write off these experienced cricketers,” says Viswanath. Even if Laxman sat out for the last two Tests that India played against England in Mohali and Mumbai.

Of course, it’s not that Viswanath, here as a specialist batting coach for Zonal Cricket Academy trainees at the Wankhede stadium, is against giving early breaks to juniors. Having made his Test debut as a 19-year-old, the former selection panel chief even says one-day sensation Suresh Raina merits a Test spot but adds that the 17-year-old leg-spinner Piyush Chawla needs to work on his art.

“Raina is a thinking cricketer and by his performance in one-dayers, he can expect to be in the Test squad. As for Chawla, in a couple of years, he will be ready for top class cricket,” says the 57-year-old.

Viswanath is pleased with the team’s balance but his only worry is Virender Sehwag’s Test form. ‘’If the openers click, we have a strong middle-order to follow, plus we have an all-rounder wicket-keeper, two quality spinners and an explosive pace attack,'’ he says.

The vital factor that will decide the four-Test series, says Viswanath, will be a ‘’big total'’. ‘’That will give our bowling attack runs to bowl at,'’ he says.

Ask him if the weak Windies side gives India their best opportunity to win and Viswanath says, ‘’It certainly is great opportunity but not because the West Indies team is going through a difficult phase, but because the Indian team is doing well. We are doing very well in one-dayers because of consistency. Earlier, we have lost so many close matches.

Source:India Sports

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This entry was posted on Sunday, May 7th, 2006 and is filed under General.

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