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'India still inspired by Eden fightback vs Aus'

Last updated on: September 29, 2010 21:40 IST

Looking forward to yet another battle

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The very mention of an India-Australia series invariably revolves around the stylish-yet-defiant VVS Laxman and his epic 281 in the Eden Gardens Test nine years ago.

The senior batsman played the sheet-anchor role as India miraculously turned it around against the Aussies to win 2-1, coming from a match down.

Laxman hopes the innings will continue to inspire the team, though it is important to focus on the present and win the upcoming two-match series, beginning in Mohali on October 1.

Talking to reporters, the Hyderbadi ace said he is personally looking forward to yet another good series against the Aussies.


Image: VVS Laxman

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'Eden Test was a historic one'

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The 2001 Eden Test is part of cricketing folklore now, and Laxman said focus should be on what is on hand right now.

"It was a long way back. But all of us still take confidence from that series. It (Eden Test) was a historic one that continues to inspire and give confidence whenever you're in trouble," he said.

Known for his fighting knocks while making them look sublime, Laxman said, "At the same time, we have to be in the present. Any series involving the two countries is watched very closely from followers of both the sides."

As matter of fact, in the last two years, Laxman averages 70.38, especially after his match-winning knocks in India's previous series in Sri Lanka.

In Galle, he found himself shepherding the tail, though India lost out. In the second Test at the SSC, Laxman stood up with Sachin Tendulkar at a crucial moment and India drew the match.

His best was at the P Sara Oval, where he came into his own with the chips down and the pitch playing fickle, as he battled a back injury and pressure of a fourth innings chase, to score his 16th Test hundred and a series-levelling win in August.


Image: VVS Laxman

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'I want to play some match-winning knocks'

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But Laxman said it is the start of a new season and it's important for them to start on a winning note with some tough series against New Zealand and South Africa lined up before the World Cup.

"Personally, I am really looking forward to the series. I want to keep up my good work going. I want to perform, play some match-winning knocks," he said.

"I have spent last two weeks at the NCA, did quite a lot of practice, hitting at the nets. I am really happy with my form and waiting for the series to get going.

"It's going to be a very important series. It's the start of a new season. We will be playing Test cricket almost after two months. This is going to be a crucial season with series against New Zealand (at home) and South Africa (away) coming up. We must start on a winning note," Laxman added.

India have not lost in Mohali for the last 16 years and Laxman said, "The conditions are just perfect at Mohali. Though I am yet to have a look at the wicket," he said.


Image: VVS Laxman

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'Aussies play tough cricket'

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Asked whether it's advantage India, with the Ricky Ponting-led side touring with a youngsters -- having four players who are yet to play the five-day version -- Laxman said it will not be easy for the hosts.

"Aussies play tough cricket. They play to their potential, do their processes right. We need to keep working hard. They have a good side with a lot of youngsters. They have always been very tough as opponents and are performing well at this level for last few years," he said.

"We must concentrate on our strong points and focus on our game rather than thinking much about our opponents," he added.


Image: Ricky Ponting

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'We have a balanced attack'

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Laxman expressed hope that India's bowling attack, led by speedster Zaheer Khan, will fire.

"We have a very good and balanced bowling attack. With Sreesanth back along with (Pragyan) Ojha, (Amit) Mishra and Ishant (Sharma), and the presence of the experience duo of Zaheer (Khan) and Harbhajan (Singh), we have a balanced attack. I am sure they would fire."

"As for batting, we have a power-packed line-up with Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir on top. The opening combination can decimate any attack right from the word go.

"Our batting has done well at various times and I am sure this time also we will keep up the good show," the senior batsman added.


Image: Ishant Sharma

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'I hope we win the World Cup'

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Originally planned as a seven-match ODI series, the BCCI squeezed in two Tests in an attempt to prolong India's reign as the No 1 Test side. Laxman said it was a good idea.

"A two-match series is just fine. In fact, it's good to have two Tests, followed by three ODIs, instead of playing a long seven-match one-day series. We must compliment the BCCI for squeezing in two Tests along with the ODIs that will follow."

Asked about India's chances at the World Cup, which is less than 150 days away, Laxman said the co-hosts are good enough to lift the trophy.

"We have a very strong side, I hope the boys would do well in the home condition. The potential is amazing, I hope we win the World Cup," he said.


Image: VVS Laxman

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