The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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You can’t choose your slot: Laxman

Calcutta: Test cricket returns to Eden Gardens after almost 19 months, and so does the Very Very Special V.V.S. Laxman. Things have been “topsy-turvy” for him after that unforgettable 281 against Australia in March last year, but he feels the team is stronger now.

“It’s been a roller-coaster ride since then, some highs, some lows. The knee operation which ruled me out of the Test series in Sri Lanka was really disappointing. But you have to accept these things,” Laxman told The Telegraph Tuesday afternoon.

The stylish batsman was promptly promoted to No. 3 after that epic against Australia. However, it wasn’t long before he slipped back to the No. 6 slot.

“You can’t choose your spot and have to bat where the team requires you to. Once again, these are things you have to accept if you are playing international cricket. On the positive side, it was good to have a very consistent series in the West Indies at No. 6,” he observed.

Laxman, who made his Test debut in Ahmedabad under Sachin Tendulkar against the visiting South Africans in 1996, feels the difference between Indian teams of the past and the current one is of attitude.

“This lot is more confident and confidence comes with performance. We have won a few tough matches in the recent past and that has made a lot of difference.”

But doesn’t he find batting difficult with tailenders as partners, as has happened so often since he came back to No. 6' “You have to make adjustments when you bat lower down the order and be prepared to bat with the tail.”

Asked whether he has any particular strategy while batting with bowlers for company, Laxman said: “It depends on the situation. Sometimes you tend to go for shots and sometimes you stay put.”

The Indian tail is not one that commands respect very often, but Laxman has to depend on them. “They have the potential and done well sometimes, though they could have done better,” Laxman noted.

“But above all, it comes down to how the team is faring. As long as the team is doing well everything is fine. My runs matter most when they help the team win,” the Hyderabad right-hander said.

About playing at the Eden, where he has a couple of other good scores (95 against Australia in 1998 and 67 against Pakistan a year later) apart from the mammoth 281, Laxman said: “It feels great. This is the ground where I got my highest Test score and the atmosphere here is special. I tend to do well here but that’s just a coincidence.”

Laxman reiterated his immediate aim is to make himself a regular in the one-day XI. “My batting is suitable for both versions of the game. I have to be patient and wait for my turn. I am confident I will succeed in one-dayers too,” Laxman said.

Well, the way the current Indian one-day team is playing, Laxman needs another special effort to snatch a spot there. But then, is Laxman not about special things'

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