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India's batting in good health: Laxman (IANS Interview)

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New Delhi, Nov 8 (IANS) Former batting stalwart V.V.S. Laxman has said he was impressed by the performance of Indian batsmen in the recently concluded cricket series against New Zealand.

An elegant batsman during his playing days, Laxman, who was for over a decade part of India's famed batting order also involving Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Virender Sehwag, said India have always been a batting-oriented team.

Apart from Indian Test skipper Virat Kohli, who scored a career-best knock of 211 runs against New Zealand, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane also contributed with decent scores.

"I am very impressed by the Indian batsmen's display against New Zealand. Virat Kohli got a big hundred. Then you got Ajinkya Rahane who also got a hundred and India always dominated in the batting department," Laxman told IANS here.

Laxman was in the capital in connection with a media discussion on the upcoming India-England series.

The Test series between India and England which starts in Rajkot on Wednesday, has all the ingredients to be an absolute corker as both teams will field their best playing XI to dominate the proceedings.

But India is facing an injury crisis as opener Lokesh Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan and middle-order batsman Rohit Sharma were ruled out of the Test series.

Asked about injury woes to front-line batsmen that can hamper India's chances during the five-Test England series, Laxman said the best part of the current national team is they have replacements for every player.

"I don't think injuries can hamper the proceedings. The beauty of this Indian team is that you got the replacement for each and every spot," Laxman, who scored 8,781 Test runs at an average of 45.97 in 134 matches, said.

"Gautam Gambhir played really well in the second innings of the Indore Test and he is a experienced player so I am sure he will be looking forward for this opportunity and also the youngsters like Karun Nair and Hardik Pandya, whoever gets to play."

Asked about the lack of Test temperament in the current Indian squad, the 42-year-old backed the batsmen, asserting that they have proved that they can adjust to the demands of the longest format of the game.

"There are also many good consistent performances by other players also but they failed to translate into a milestone and that's something I am sure Murali Vijay will be mindful of as he was really good but was not able to convert into a big score. Pujara also played well so I think batting department as a whole is doing well," Laxman said.

Asked on the possible spin combination with premier off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin during the upcoming series, the Hyderabadi batsman said that he would love to field three spinners against the English side.

"I would want to see (Ravindra) Jadeja and Amit Mishra along with Ashwin. I would love to see three spinners bowling against this England batting line-up," Laxman said.

When questioned about the controversial Decision Review System (DRS), which a reluctant Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) agreed to use during the series on a trial basis, Laxman remained non-committal.

(Gaurav Sharma can be contacted at gaurav.sharma@ians.in)

--IANS

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