VVS Laxman has said the limited-overs tour to Sri Lanka will help youngsters understand the standards they will have to maintain to have a prolonged run in the Indian team.
A 20-member Indian team under the leadership of Shikhar Dhawan is presently in Sri Lanka for a six-match white-ball tour, starting with the first ODI on July 13. With quite a few established players like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma away in England, the team primarily comprises white-ball specialists and youngsters who have been knocking on the doors of national selection.
During a discussion on Star Sports, VVS Laxman pointed out that the Sri Lanka trip will be a great learning experience for the Indian youngsters. He said,
“The time they will spend with Rahul Dravid and the Indian team in Sri Lanka, they will come to know about the standards to be maintained, with what intensity you need to train and prepare.”
The former India cricketer highlighted that the youngsters will not only gain from Rahul Dravid’s mentorship but also learn the tricks of the trade from the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Hardik Pandya and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. VVS Laxman explained,
“They can learn as well, they will spend time with Shikhar Dhawan, you will get time with an all-rounder like Hardik Pandya and young bowlers like Sakariya will get a chance with established bowlers like Bhuvneshwar Kumar. So these youngsters will get to learn a lot, that itself is a big bonus.”
Dhawan, Pandya, Kumar and Yuzvendra Chahal have all played more than 100 limited-overs internationals for Team India. The youngsters will be keen to learn from their experiences.
“The emergence of a strong bench strength has been a special thing” – VVS Laxman
On being asked about two Indian teams playing in parallel, VVS Laxman responded that he is filled with pride because of the development. The cricketer-turned-commentator gave multiple reasons for the current depth in Indian cricket. He said,
“Not only excited but very proud. If you see the last last two years, the emergence of a strong bench strength has been a special thing. The main reason for that is the robust first-class cricket we have got, the India A program under Rahul Dravid, IPL has played a major role and so did the NCA.”
The 46-year-old signed off by stating that a place in the Indian team is due reward for the terrific performances the youngsters have dished out at the domestic level. VVS Laxman observed,
“I don’t think these are inexperienced players, they are all experienced T20 players, they give important contributions for their franchise. I feel they are rewarded for their good performances. That itself is a big thing. You want the India cap when you perform consistently well in the IPL and domestic cricket.”
The Sri Lanka tour will present a great opportunity for the likes of Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Prithvi Shaw, Deepak Chahar and Varun Chakravarthy to stake their claim for a spot in the Indian squad for the T20 World Cup.