Laxman gives credit to Shoaib Akhtar

Published: Monday, April 19, 2004, 2:05 [IST]
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Hyderabad : Admitting that he was bamboozled by the express pace of Shoaib Akhtar on a couple of occasions, prolific batsman V V S Laxman said he was "hurt by the negative comments" on his form during the historic tour of Pakistan.

"It is sad that some negative comments were made at a time when we needed really positive and morale boosting words. Such remarks did hurt me but the only way to fight them out is to perform and I have done the same thing," said Laxman who arrived in Hyderabad on Sunday.

Asked to comment on reports of the likelihood of him being dropped for the final Test to accommodate skipper Sourav Ganguly after his below par performance in the first two Tests, Laxman said, "in the first two Tests, I was out to very good deliveries and we have to give credit to the bowler for his effort too. Besides, the run out was very unfortunate."

On being stunned after being clean bowled by Akhtar in the third Test at Rawalpindi, he conceded "I could not read a couple of balls bowled by him."

Laxman described the series win, India's first on Pakistani soil, as a good experience and playing in Pakistan a big opportunity.

"We very often do not play in Pakistan," he said adding "the confidence level of the team has gone up ever since their tour of West Indies (in 2002)."

On Virender Sehwag breaking his record of 281 for India's highest individual Test score, Laxman said, "records are meant to be broken. Viru's batting style is such that if he stays at the crease for the second day, he is sure of getting a double hundred."

The stylish batsman said he had spurned offers to play in the County Championships this summer in order to keep himself fit and fresh for a tough schedule later this year.

"Though I have a couple of county offers, I did not accept them as I will be focussing on fitness and the schedule given to us," he said.

On Brian Lara's record knock of 400 not out, Laxman said he did watch the match on television and was overawed at his performance.

"Particularly after losing the first three Tests, to come back with determination and score 400 runs is amazing," he said.

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