VVS Laxman feels India are certainly one of the favourites to win this year’s ICC World Cup beginning in United Kingdom from May 30.
“India have been brilliant in the last few months… The way they have played right from the Australia series — the batsmen, the fast bowlers and the spinners — it’s outstanding. They are peaking at the right time.
“World Cup will be a long tournament and all the players will have to be at their peak physically and mentally. If you ask me, India and England are the two favourites,” the former India batsman, who’s currently Bengal’s Vision 2020 batting consultant, said on Wednesday at the JU Salt Lake Campus ground after his three-day camp with the Bengal players.
England are in the No. 1 side in the ICC ODI rankings with 126 points and India close second with four points less.
Talking about the Vision 2020 camp as Bengal prepare for the forthcoming Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Laxman said he was very satisfied with the progress of the players.
“I always feel in Twenty20, it’s better to have match-simulation than net practice. It’s much more realistic. I am very satisfied with the way the batsmen have been hitting the ball and bowlers bowling at the right spot.
“There are a lot of youngsters who are confident and fearless, and strike the ball really well. These boys will come in handy in the T20 format. There’s a good mix of players who can anchor the innings and also players who can take the attack to the rival camp.
“Now it’s about going out and assessing the conditions and the situations. What we tried to do over the last three days is to give them various scenarios and situations, and see how they approach.
“It’s the decision-making we are trying to inculcate in them.”
Bengal are placed in Group D of the T20 tournament and begin their campaign against Mizoram in Cuttack on February 21.
When asked whether Bengal have improved since Arun Lal had come on board since October last year, Laxman said: “I think Arun is definitely an inspirational figure. He is someone who always gives his best. He was an exceptional player.
“Secondly, I think what happened to him over the last three years is an inspirational story for everyone. If you are positive and if you always look at the positive things, good things happen to you.
“They way he fought cancer proves how tough he is mentally and shows why he is at the cricket ground. A lot of people give up against adversity, but great characters never. His presence in the changing room will inspire the youngsters.”