Hyderabad: New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor on Sunday said India would find it difficult to get a replacement for VVS Laxman.
“The retirement of Laxman and (Rahul) Dravid gives opportunity to two new younger players in the Indian side. But you cannot replace Rahul or Laxman — the two greats of the Indian game,” Taylor said after the team’s practice session here.
“Yes, (against these two players) we had plans few months ago but we don’t need to have those plans any more,” he said in a lighter vein ahead of the first Test to be played here from Thursday.
Taylor’s teammate Brendon McCullum said that Laxman was a phenomenal player who managed to shore India up in many a pressure situations. “He scored runs against us last time (in Ahmedabad) when we thought we had an opportunity to win a Test match but that was not so,” he said.
McCullum felt the Indian team without Laxman and Dravid will lack in experience and his side would look to exploit that aspect.
“It is so long (they played) in international games... Now we have exploit those areas,” he said.
Martin Guptill termed the retirement of Laxman as a “big loss” for India cricket. “He (Laxman) played a lot of international cricket over the years and scored lot of Test runs. It will be quite tough to fill his place.”
Asked if Laxman’s absence will benefit the New Zealand team, Guptill said: “It will, in a way.”
Pacer Tim Southee said Dravid and Laxman were two great players with lot of experience. “They were exciting, successful world-class players and tough on bowlers.”
Moving on to the upcoming series, Taylor thinks that “familiar” conditions will help challenge the Indians in the upcoming two-Test series.
A lot of New Zealand players are familiar with the conditions here as they have played in the Indian Premier League, and Taylor said they needed to work out a specific strategy in the run-up to the first Test.
“We know we have lot of work to do in next two-three days to make sure we are prepared for the challenge ahead,” Taylor said.
“We would certainly like to put some good plans in place and be positive about the way we look to play. India is a familiar place for (a) lot of us. We have played well here and are looking forward to the contest,” he added.
During their last trip to India, in 2010, the Black Caps had drawn two Test matches, and Taylor hoped his team will play equally well this time too.
“We hadn’t had bad memories the last time we played here. Brendon (McCullum) got 225. We had our opportunities but Harbhajan batted well and took the game away from us. However, it is a different time of the year, and hopefully, we will continue to play well.”