Unlike some of the stalwarts he has shared the Indian dressing room with, VVS Laxman doesn't know how it feels to play in a Test match in his own city.
After Friday, Laxman will have his bit to contribute, if playing at home ever becomes the subject of conversation with the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly or Virender Sehwag. Before ending a long wait, Laxman spoke to HT.
You will play your first Test at home. How does it feel?
This has always been a dream. Anybody would like to play in front of his well-wishers. It's great to know I will play before my family, friends and coaches who helped me reach where I am today. I am looking forward to making it a memorable one. Irrespective of what I do, India must win.
How do you describe the sense of joy that comes from doing well under pressure?
It was a childhood dream to do well when the opposition puts us under pressure and it's one of the biggest satisfactions a player can have.
Do you ever feel 'not me, not again' and which of these efforts would you keep in your top five?
It's my duty to perform when the team is in trouble, so I never get that thought. And I have not done anything magical. Everybody tries to do well when the team needs it. Sometimes it comes off, sometimes it doesn't. And all these efforts are close to my heart because they helped us win or save games. I would like to continue doing that instead of ranking them.
Do you think you have not got your due in terms of acknowledgements or records?
Lack of recognition used to play on my mind, but it doesn't anymore. It made me more and more disappointed and the aspect of enjoying life suffered. Being blessed to win the admiration of my peers and teammates is the biggest recognition for me. As for personal achievements, cricket is a team game where everybody has to perform their role.
I know my conversion rate as far as centuries are concerned is not as good as I would have liked. Because I batted at No. 6 for long, I got out or got stranded after scoring fifties on a number of occasions. Centuries, averages of 50 are by-products of what you are doing for the team and I am happy to have done my best.
India go to South Africa next. Your record there isn't great. Eager to set that straight?
I am not bothered about what I have done in the past. I am thinking about New Zealand at the moment and when I go to South Africa, I will try to contribute my bit to the team's cause.
India toppled Australia as the world's No. 1 Test side and you played a leading role in that. How satisfying is it?
Very satisfying. It's not about what I did. It's been a combination of hard work by a lot of people. I feel privileged to have played a part in achieving what we have. As far as I am concerned, I will continue to work hard.