Mumbai: Performing well overseas should be India's top priority and the Test squad needs "smart preparation" every time they embark on a tour, according to former India batsman VVS Laxman.
Very strong at home, India's problems while travelling have been well documented with the team losing 13 of their last 17 Test matches on foreign soil. (Also read: Laxman bats for day-night Test cricket)
The last time India toured Australia they were blanked 4-0 and with another four-Test series starting on the bouncy tracks Down Under next month, Laxman felt India should reassess their preparations.
"In an ideal world, before we travel to Australia or South Africa, we would spend weeks together in camps, honing techniques against the bouncing ball or working out the lengths that are optimal to bowl on surfaces with pace and bounce," Laxman said while delivering the annual Pataudi Memorial Lecture in Kolkata on Wednesday. (Pics: Former Champions of Indian Cricket Grace Pataudi Lecture)
"But we do not live in an ideal world, with tours packed into the calendar. Today, we need to substitute extensive preparation with smart preparation."
Laxman, who retired in 2012, said while India should not give up the home advantage of playing on spin-friendly tracks, they should identify centres across the country where they can try and replicate foreign conditions.
"India has been the number one Test team in the past, a position we held for nearly three years,"Laxman, who was a batting mainstay in India's middle order, said.
"As we seek to return to the top of the Test rankings, it therefore becomes non-negotiable that we improve our performances away from home."
Laxman also lauded the International Cricket Council's efforts to identify and sanction bowlers with suspect actions but called on the governing body to do more for the survival of Test cricket.
A big fan of Twenty20 cricket, Laxman wants both formats to co-exist and said drawing spectators to Tests was the "biggest challenge" for administrators.
"The survival of the longer version of the game is critical for the future of cricket," the 40-year-old added.
"Day-night Test cricket is being suggested, and while we are not sure whether it can meet technical requirements, it might draw newer audiences for its sheer novelty value.
"So maybe day-night cricket is worth a shot, no doubt, especially when the shot doesn't compromise the inherent core fabric of the longer version."