Melbourne: With an average of 52-plus in 16 Tests, V.V.S. Laxman has been one of the most successful against Australia in recent memory. On Sunday afternoon, he spoke to the media at the MCG and, later, briefly interacted with The Telegraph.
The following are excerpts
On many believing that the present team is the finest from India to tour Australia
We can win if we play to potential... One cant give away even an inch, or else the Australians will walk over you... One has to be aggressive and the mindset has much to do with doing well against Australia... One does need lots of self belief.
On his excellent record against Australia
(Smiles) Im hoping to again contribute... Its nice to do well against a great side...
On conditions being very different from home
One expects the wickets to be hard and bouncy, so one is prepared. Its much the same in South Africa.
On whether counter-attacking is the best strategy
Depends on the situation.
On a stand out memory from previous tours
Quite easily the way we performed on the last tour (2003-04)... Wont forget it.
On whether he has been targeted by the Australians for sledging
Havent felt it that way.
On Team Indias approach
Wed raised our intensity on the last tour and came close to winning the Test series... As Ive said, one needs to be aggressive... One needs to play ones normal game... Whenever weve done well (overseas), weve put up a big total in the first innings...
On whether he has a goal
To perform consistently.
On whether hes aiming to repeat 1999-00, when a brilliant hundred in the last Test (Sydney) helped him stay on for the ODIs
Im not thinking of the ODIs... Right now, Im focused on the first Test and the Test series.
On playing at the MCG, where the series begins on Boxing Day
The atmosphere is amazing and taking to the field on Boxing Day is some experience... Its different from the Eden Gardens as you feel that the crowd here is closer to you... Ive appeared in two Boxing Day Tests and am looking forward to the third.
On the difference in batting at No.3 and at No.6
At No.3, one has to set the game up... At No.6, one plays according to the situation...
On whether he will bat at No.3 at the MCG
I dont know... The combination is being worked out.
On whether Yuvraj Singh has put the Test regulars under pressure
Nobody thinks about holding on to a slot... Whats important is to do well and maintain a high level of intensity. Thats the need at this level.
On his own performance in the last series (against Pakistan, an average of 209)
It was nice to be among the runs... I hope to continue playing the way Ive been doing in the past six months... Im happy with my form.
On Brad Hogg, the Australians sole specialist spinner
Hes not an orthodox left-arm spinner, but has played a big role in ODIs... Playing him will be a challenge... Im not one to degrade any bowler.
Finally, on Sourav Ganguly being days away from his 100th Test
Its great for any cricketer to play 100 Tests... Sourav has, over the years, done exceedingly well... Given his form, he will get a big hundred in his 100th Test!