Bengaluru: Former Indian cricketer VVS Laxman has backed the Virat Kohli-led side to not only beat arch-rivals Pakistan in their Champions Trophy opener, but to defend the coveted title as well.
“I am very confident that India will do well in the Champions Trophy and will defend the title,” Laxman said on Wednesday.
India had an ideal start in their defence of the title with comfortable victories over New Zealand and Bangladesh in both the warm-up games at the Kennington Oval. While bowlers came to fore in the first game against the Black Caps where they bundled out a strong batting line up of Kiwis for just 189 and won the match by 45 runs through D/L method, it was an all-round performance with some solid batting backed up by hostile opening spell from pacers that helped India embarrass Bangladesh by 240 runs in the second warm-up game.
“Especially, the way they played in the last two warm-up games. The batsmen are in form. I am very impressed with the way Shikhar Dhawan batted in both the games. Even Dinesh Karthik used the opportunity against Bangladesh brilliantly,” said Laxman.
“Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya were also amongst runs.”
“The bowlers were just outstanding in the two games. They were bowling attacking lines and lengths, looking to be aggressive and looking to pick up wickets,” he added.
Talking about the much anticipated India-Pakistan clash, the 42-year-old, said, “It’s going to be a very good game. The match against Pakistan will be highly intense. It will be a packed house at Birmingham.” “If we ( India) play to our potential, we will definitely go and win the game,” he added.
The Men in Blue will begin their Champions Trophy campaign against Pakistan on June 4 in Birmingham, followed by matches against Sri Lanka and South Africa on June 8 and June 11 respectively.