Former India batting great VVS Laxman has been appointed batting consultant in Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB)’s Vision 2020 Project due to the initiative of association’s joint secretary and Laxman’s long-time India team colleague Sourav Ganguly.
His best cricketing achievement happened on the hallowed Eden Gardens turf and VVS Laxman feels that it’s time he repays something back to ‘City of Joy’ which has showered unadulterated love on him.
Laxman, who is also associated with Hyderabad Cricket Association, said he would spend at least 30 days a season giving tips to “score runs”.
“Over the period of next year, I’ll be coming spending here for at least 30 days. We’ll work out what’s best for myself as well as the youngsters,” Laxman told reporters at the Gardens.
“The ultimate aim for a batsman is to score runs. Run making is also a technique along with the skill. I’m looking forward to contribute.”
Laxman would be joined by Muttiah Muralitharan as the spin bowling consultant as the Lankan spin wizard is set to join the youngsters on November 1.
Excited to take up the challenge, Laxman said:”It’s great to be back at Eden Gardens. I’ve always enjoyed coming here not only because I’ve done well on this ground but the kind of welcome I get from the people of Kolkata it’s always been great to see.
“The city has given me a lot of joy and happiness. One of the best grounds I’ve played and some of my best (knocks) have come here. It always is a special feeling to come here.”
“The ultimate goal for all of us who have played is to help the youngsters play for the country. This time I’m doing it for the Bengal team along with the Hyderabad side. I’m happy to be here.”
Laxman feels that Bengal players have the potential to do well and his aim would be to help them realise their potential.
“Bengal have done really well last year, especially in the Ranji Trophy by making into the knock-outs. No batsman is perfect. There’re other aspects of batting which are equally important. Let’s hope they realise their potential.”
The former middle-order batsman however said this time he has come here not as a cricketer or being part of a side like the mentor of Sunrisers Hyderabad during the IPL.
“I’m here in a different role and capacity hoping to help Bengal youngsters.”
Giving credit to his former captain Ganguly for taking up the new role in Bengal cricket, Laxman said: “It’s because of him that I’m here. He persuaded me to take up this role. Really excited to see the young talents on display.”
“It’s been a long time since we met. It’s great to catch up with him and see him doing something for the Bengal cricket.”
Asked about East Zone’s batting collapse (84 and 62/9) against South in the Duleep Trophy in Lahli, he said: “It’s a low scoring game. Lahli wicket has always been supportive of seam bowling. It’s important to play to your strengths. I’ve not seen the match personally, so it would be really difficult to comment on the performance there.”
Meanwhile, Ganguly welcomed Laxman to be on board with the Cricket Association of Bengal’s ambitious Vision 2020 programme which has been envisaged to make Bengal a constant supply line for the Indian team.
“He’s has scored so many runs at the highest level, I am sure it would be really beneficial for the boys.”
The CAB Joint Secretary clarified that Laxman’s association would be with the Bengal boys notwithstanding the seniors or age group cricketers.
“He will come again and again. He’s here for the Vision 2020 not for the senior side. Ashok Malhotra is there for the senior team. Everybody who’s there with the senior team are also associated with Vision 2020,” former India captain said.
“Laxman is for the development of players of Bengal. We should have organised this a bit earlier but they are allbusy people so their availability was an issue. It’s a long term appointment, so did not want to rush thing and appoint somebody suitable.”
Ganguly hoped the Bengal batsmen do not repeat a Lahli-like failure again.
“Getting out twice (for less than 100) is not correct. It was a seaming com track they just did not bat well. Hopefully, it does not happen again.”