Don’t think captaincy will affect Abhimanyu’s batting: Laxman

Bengal captain Abhimanyu Easwaran failed miserably with the bat last season but batting consultant VVS Laxman said that the additional responsibility of leading the team will not affect his performance in the upcoming domestic events.

Last season, Abhimanyu led Bengal to Ranji final for the first time since 2006-07, but the opener had a pathetic run with the bat, averaging 17.20 from 10 matches with just one half-century.

In contrast to it, he had amassed 861 runs from six matches in 2018-19 at an average of 95.66, including two hundreds and a double hundred.

But Laxman backed Abhimanyu to do well in the upcoming season which will get underway with the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament on January 10.

“I don’t think captaincy will affect Abhimanyu’s performance at all. I believe additional responsibility is much better,” Laxman told CAB Media.

“That’s what he has been doing for Bengal for so many years, he’s been a prolific run-getter. He performed not only for Bengal but also in the opportunities he got for India A he has done exceedingly well,” said the former India batsman.

Abhimanyu had replaced seasoned batsman Manoj Tiwary as skipper ahead of the 2019-20 season.

Cricket Association of Bengal has recently shortlisted a 22-man squad for the domestic T20 tournament but are yet to name the skipper.

All top players, including Abhimanyu, Tiwary and wicketkeeper-batsman Shreevats Goswami, are named in the squad.

Asked whether a split captaincy was the way forward, Laxman disagreed.

“I am not a big believer or supporter of split captaincy. I think if your best leader or best captain is not an automatic choice in all formats, then it will work.

“But if your captain is an automatic choice in all three formats, he should lead the side in all formats. That will help in creating consistency and a culture within the group which will help the team to move forward,” Laxman said.

Laxman conducted a camp with the Bengal cricketers last week and said they looked in fine shape, having played the Bengal T20 Challenge club-level tournament in the build-up.

“Bengal players are really well prepared. I was very happy the way the batsmen were hitting the ball. I think the Bengal T20 Challenge which was highly competitive helped them to be in good touch, good rhythm at the start of the camp.

“All of them are looking in great touch. I am quite upbeat and positive about Bengal’s chances (in Mushtaq Ali). I just hope that they convert this form into consistent performances, play match winning knocks and win the tournament for Bengal.”

Most of the players featured in a club-level Bengal T20 challenge ahead of the January 10-31 Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament which will kick off the domestic calendar after the coronavirus outbreak.

Bengal have been clubbed with Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Odisha, Assam and Hyderabad in Group B and will have the advantage of playing at home.

Bengal begin their campaign against Odisha on January 10 here.