Former India cricketer VVS Laxman on Wednesday said that the Indians need to stand against terrorism in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 soldiers were killed. Speaking at the WION Global Summit in Dubai, the former right-handed batsman said: “I think cricket is the last thing on my mind at the moment. The country is devastated and angry following the cowardly attack on the soldiers. Cricket is the last thing on anyone’s mind.”
The 44-year-old further added: “We need to rally behind the security forces and the families of those martyred, and stand together against terrorists as well as terrorism.”
Speaking on the upcoming World Cup tournament, which is set to begin in May, Laxman pegged India and England as the favourites. “I think there is nothing bigger than the World Cup in the ODI format of the game. However, the way the Indian team has played over the last one year indicates that they are a complete side. It is indeed a challenging achievement to beat Australia at home. The current side comprises of a quality bowling attack which includes excellent fast bowlers and resources in the bowling department, capable of picking wickets and restricting the flow of runs,” he said.
The former cricketer said that the men in blue are peaking at the right time. “India is peaking at the right time. Their performances in the recent away series against Australia and New Zealand indicate that they can be world beaters. If the current Indian side emerges victorious in the World Cup, then they will have ticked all the boxes as they have done well in Test matches and ODI clashes as well. Their performance against South Africa in the ODI series away from home cannot be forgotten as well,” added Laxman.
Despite a few questions being raised on the middle-order, Laxman picked Ambati Rayudu as the ideal candidate for the no. 4 position. “Rayadu has been performing really well recently. He made his presence felt with a quality knock of 90 in the last ODI against New Zealand, with the knock emerging as a matchwinning one. Rayadu has sealed the position,” he said.
He further added that Mahendra Singh Dhoni should play at the no. 5th position followed by Kedar Jadhav and Hardik Pandya who can go big in the death overs. “In my opinion, MSD should play at the No 5 position as he can anchor the innings well and finishes the game off as well. There is enough depth in the lineup with the likes of Hardik Pandya and Kedar Jadhav available as well. I believe that the playing 11 is sorted out,” he added
Talking about Indian skipper Virat Kohli, Laxman said: “Kohli sets an example which rubs off on the other players as well. The Indian team currently has an edge due to the improved fielding standards. This will help the team do well in tough conditions.”