VVS Laxman’s class with the bat in his hand has taken the breath of spectators and peers alike. But the stylish right-hander is not resting on his laurels and is already looking ahead to winning a Test series in Australia.
"After what happened in England we would like to get back to the top spot again and I'd like to play knocks that make a difference to the team... Numbers are just a by-product. Also, I have always dreamt of winning a series in Australia." Laxman told TOI.
The desire to do well for the country has been a constant ever since. It is a coincidence - like his rise in prominence to that of India's surge to the pinnacle of Test cricket - that his first and latest Tests resulted in Indian victories, the most recent at his favourite hunting ground where the elegant right-hander has logged five centuries to continue his love affair with Eden Gardens.
"It was a proud moment for all of us when we became No. 1 in the world in 2009. It was the right culmination for a bunch of players who took great pride in performance," said the Hyderabadi stylist who revelled in India's transition from poor travellers to a team that can win against all comers.
Laxman owes it to a change in mindset. "We had the reputation of being poor travellers when I started but it got better with time. For the likes of Sourav (Ganguly), Rahul (Dravid) and Anil (Kumble), winning overseas mattered a lot and we could successfully change the trend with a different mental approach."
Statistics tell only little of Laxman's value to the side. His selflessness and the ability to get the best out of his teammates in hopeless situations are exemplified by his 281 that stopped Australia at the 'Final Frontier'.
Many captains, different approaches and perspectives. Any regrets? "I'm very lucky to have played under great leaders. Everyone could win a match on their own," says Laxman, for whom not representing India in World Cup and more ODIs rankle.