| Sourav Ganguly during practice at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Saturday. (AP/PTI)
Colombo, Sept. 21 (PTI): India are likely to include V.V.S Laxman into the playing XI as they take on England in the Champions Trophy match Sunday. The winner will play South Africa in the semi-final Wednesday.
“There is a chance of Laxman playing,” captain Sourav Ganguly said ahead of the crucial match which promises to end a spate of one-sided encounters in the tournament.
Laxman is likely to replace Dinesh Mongia who failed in the first game against Zimbabwe.
If Laxman finally makes the squad, it will be a good opportunity for the Hyderabadi, whose performances in the shorter version of the game has been subject to criticism lately.
India have won 11 of their last 15 matches which includes the sensational two-wicket victory against England in the final of the NatWest trophy series two months ago. England captain Nasser Hussain, in fact, feels India are one of the favourites to win the tournament.
England themselves have done well recently, and their ten matches with India this year have all been close affairs. Their comprehensive victory against Zimbabwe earlier in the meet was only an indication of the fine form they are in.
With the teams looking balanced, Sourav said India will have their task cut out.“It’s going to be a physical as well as a mental fight. They are a very good side. We have to fight hard,” he said.
Both the captains, however, are of the opinion that India’s batting would hold the key to the match. “I hope we bat well. That’s going to be the key,” Sourav said, recalling the team hadn’t batted well against Zimbabwe until Rahul Dravid and Mohammed Kaif pulled them out of trouble.
Asked whether England had any specific plans against Dravid, who has been in good form, Hussain said the focus could not be on one player. “If we focus on Dravid, we can’t forget Virender Sehwag, Sourav and Sachin Tendulkar. And then they have Yuvraj and Kaif.”
Hussain also felt that the humid conditions and the nature of the wickets was more suited to India than England.“It is obvious that these are very alien to English conditions,” he said.
But Sourav didn’t think it was much of an advantage. “The conditions in England suit them better, but we won there. It could be the other way around here. We have to be careful and play to our full potential.”
India (from): Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, V.V.S. Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh, Mohammed Kaif, Harbhajan Singh, Anil Kumble, Ashish Nehra, Zaheer Khan, Ajit Agarkar, Dinesh Mongia, J.P. Yadav
England (from): Nasser Hussain, Andrew Caddick, Dominic Cork, Ashley Giles, Matthew Hoggard, Ronnie Irani, James Kirtkey, Nick Knight, Owais Shah, Jeremy Snape, Alec Stewart, Marcus Trescothick
n Pakistan crush The Netherlands: Page 14