India are ranked No 1, won the last series played in England, and their batsmen have plundered attacks all over the world, but VVS Laxman is under no false impression about how much hard work it is going to be to get runs in England.
“You never feel settled on the English tracks, you never feel in, because the weather conditions are so unpredictable. The pitch conditions change with the weather. You may be playing well but you may suddenly get a good spell from a fast bowler just because of the change in weather conditions, and you would be playing and missing even while batting on 50 plus. You have to be very focused and play the ball on merit,” Laxman said on the sidelines of the tour game against Somerset.Though India won the Test series in 2007, none of their specialist batsmen got a century. Laxman averages 44.89 in seven Tests in England, but has never scored a century. The first Test will be played at Lord’s from July 21.
The Hyderabad player is among the most stylish batsmen in the game. For him, it will be about batting against his grain, as playing and missing will be part of the game.
The grit of the famed Indian batting line-up will be on test. But this set has been there and done that, says Laxman.
“I’m very proud of what we have done over the last few years, especially how well we have played overseas. We have taken a lot of pride from the way we have won Test matches and series abroad.
“In England it’s a great experience and challenge for us but we are quite confident in our ability and believe we will again do well this time.”
He is in the form of his life and the last four years have been the most productive of his career, when he has averaged 57.33. Laxman attributed it to the happy team environment. “It helped that Anil Kumble and MS Dhoni, as captains, and coach Gary Kirsten, made me more relaxed and assured in the team.”
It is a perfect opportunity to fulfill his desire of getting a hundred at the home of cricket. And what better series than the battle for the No 1 spot?
“I haven’t made a century in England yet, nor has the team won at Lord’s while I have been around. It would be great if I get it this time. However, for me contributing to the team’s cause in a win will always be greater than a century.”