The world’s No. 1 rivalry: Laxman

The Aussies have arrived. How can there not be any buzz surrounding the one-day series? True that India and Australia are not going to be locked in a Test series but Michael Clarke and V.V.S. Laxman expect the cricket to be intense.

With Star Sports anchor Jatin Sapru moderating the panel discussion here on Tuesday to herald the series, Clarke and Laxman batted with the controlled aggression that marked their work at the crease and their interaction was interspersed with light humour.

“It’s always going to be competitive on the field. Both teams understand there is a line they can’t cross. Both respect that. Fans deserve to see a highly competitive and entertaining series. The best players will stand out and perform. This series won’t be different to any other we have seen between Australia and India,” observed Clarke, part of the broadcasters’ team.

Laxman agreed, “It doesn’t matter if they are verbal on the field but they have to show that high level of competitiveness which will always happen when India plays Australia.

Lots of pride

Both the teams take a lot of pride in their performances. You don’t have to be friendly on the field but both the team realise that the best way to beat the other team is by playing aggressive cricket. Not necessarily by sledging but aggressive in the way you bat, bowl or field. I am sure both the teams would be mindful of it. It is the world’s No. 1 rivalry.”

Reflecting on the past exchanges, Clarke noted, “It would be hard for me to compare but every time I competed against India, it was very competitive on the field. I liked Sourav (Ganguly) for his captaincy because he was not scared to lose. The players know each other quite better because of tournaments like the IPL. It’s been great for relationships and been great for the game. India is like a second home for the Australians.”

While Clarke backed Australia to win the series 3-2 and rated Steve Smith a better Test batsman than Virat Kohli, Laxman, rating Kohli the better captain of the two, put faith in India claiming it 4-1.

Expertise in all forms

Clarke advocated expertise in all three formats of the game. “All young players today would be looking to be good at all three formats of the game. I am teaching (at my academy) all young boys and girls the technique to excel in all three formats”.

For Laxman, Test cricket was paramount.

“From the players’ point of view they all would love to be good at Tests but the way the game is progressing, it is important to be versatile and flexible. It is important to be good in all the three formats even though they require different skills. The temperament and the mindset is the same. You have to show the adaptability.”

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