VVS : If England don’t start well, it will be a one-sided series

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India at Headingley, 2002

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VVS : If England don’t start well, it will be a one-sided series

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SportsCafe Desk

11/08/2016

VVS Laxman believes that England cannot afford a bad start to their India Test tour despite it being a five-match series, and predicted a lopsided affair if they did fail at the start. However, Kapil Dev expects England to bounce back from their Bangladesh defeat but pegged India as the favourites.

Laxman is quite forthright when he is asked to speak – be it from the commentary box or not. At a time when every series and match is hailed as the biggest, he downplayed the India-England series saying that India's duels with Australia and Pakistan were much bigger.

 “India v England has its own charm. India v Australia too. But then nothing can match the aura of an India v Pakistan match. It’s the interest that people show that makes the game,” he was quoted as saying by The Hindu.

Laxman, who was tormentor-in-chief whenever India played Australia, is already looking forward to the Kangaroos' India visit, but for now believed that England would still comeback to make a fist out of their visit after the Bangladesh defeat.

“An India-Australia Test series will be highly competitive. England will want to start afresh even though they lost the last Test match in Bangladesh. They may want to put up a fight. Because this is a five-Test series, any team has got an opportunity to bounce back. We have to wait and see how they start. If they don’t start well, I think it will be a one-sided series,” he said.

Kapil Dev, who accompanied Laxman, gave India the edge in the series. “I think on paper, Indian team looks far better in these conditions. And the way they played against New Zealand, they look much much better than England. Knowing England they are true professionals, they will bounce back,” the legendary all-rounder said.

Laxman agreed with Kapil and pointed to England's lack of depth in the spin department as a major factor.

England has good fast bowlers but unfortunately they are lacking in spin department. Too much of dependence on Moeen Ali. He is not a regular spinner but has done well within his limitations. A lot to expect from their fast bowlers. Stuart Broad is leader of the pack, capable fast bowlers. India have a settled line-up with three quality spinners in Amit Mishra, Ashwin and (Ravindra) Jadeja to choose from.

Laxman

Both players chose their favorite England moments: For Kapil, it was the Lord's Test of 1986, while Laxman picked the Headingley Test of 2002 which was a pivotal moment in Indian Test cricket's golden age under Sourav Ganguly.

Kapil said: “The Test match at Lord’s that we won in 1986. That was very important moment. I think every cricketer wants to win abroad. Once you start winning abroad, you start believing in yourself much more.”

Laxman said: “Headingley in 2002 was special. Sourav (Ganguly) won the toss in conditions favourable to the English bowlers. It was fantastic to see the way in which Rahul (Dravid), Sachin (Tendulkar) and Sourav got hundreds. More so the manner in which Sanjay Bangar batted. Because he was not a regular opener. To bat for more than 230 balls even though he got 60 odd runs. That showed the character we had. That was a memorable victory. The 2007 Test series victory was satisfying and memorable. The Test match in Chennai 2008 was again memorable chasing a mammoth total in the fourth innings. Fantastic. Even though I was not a part of this, the 2014 victory at Lord’s was memorable.”

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