India's senior batsman V.V.S. Laxman has backed the youngsters in the team to come good in forthcoming international matches. (Also Read: Raina fined for showing disgust, swinging bat in dissent)
None of the youngsters, barring Suresh Raina, could make a mark on a bouncy track at the Kensington Oval on Tuesday as India were bowled out for 201 runs in the first innings. Raina struck a fighting 53 and, along with Laxman (85), added 117 runs for the fifth wicket to bail out India from a precarious 38 for four. (Also Read: Very Very special record for Laxman)
Laxman praised Raina for the valiant knock. "Raina has practised a lot playing the short deliveries. You could see that in Jamaica and here. He has played two important knocks. He played positively when the chips were down. It was great to see the way he approached the innings," he said.
The Hyderabad batsman said that batting under pressure always brings out his best.
"It gets the best out of me, especially when we are in a terrible situation. The track was challenging and so was the situation. But I always regret not converting the hard work done into big hundreds. Still, I got into better rhythm especially after Jamaica," he said.
Laxman, who reached 8,000 Test runs during his innings, lamented missing a century.
"I have not converted many of my 50s into 100s and so you feel bad after having put in the hard work. If we had batted on, we could have got around 250 to 300 which would have been a very good score. Having said that, the situation we were in before lunch, losing 4 wickets for 40-odd runs, we will be very happy the way we ended the innings and particularly because we took three wickets," he said.
Laxman said the pitch was tough to bat in the morning session but it eased out once the sun came out.
"It was a difficult wicket before lunch because it was slightly damp. They were getting bounce. After lunch, the wicket eased out a bit and it was nice for strokeplay. Raina came out positively and changed the momentum of the innings. That partnership was important but I think we threw away the hard work done after lunch," he said.
Asked if he discussed any plan with Raina to bat in the second session, Laxman said: "We didn't talk much but that's the beauty of this Indian team. Irrespective of the situation, it's very relaxed. Someone puts their hand up."
Laxman also backed Virat Kohli, Abhinav Mukund and Murali Vijay.
"(Virat) Kohli was unlucky. The ball he got out to didn't bounce much. He is a fabulous player and has played some mature innings in tough conditions for us in one-dayers."
"The two openers, Murali (Vijay) and (Abhinav) Mukund, are very talented and in times to come, would be true match winners. Unfortunately the wickets in West Indies, for the first hour at least, are damp. With more experience, they would be fine," said Laxman.