Laxman hopes to make it to World Cup Squad

Published: Wednesday, May 31, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Antigua:After missing last two editions of the World Cup, VVS Laxman hopes to be third time lucky and the stylish Hyderabadi believes that performing well in the upcoming Test series would see him return to the Caribbeans next year for the cricketing extravaganza.

''Playing in the World Cup is a dream for me. I missed out in 1999 and 2003. I want to play in at least one World Cup and this is probably my last chance,'' said the middle order batsman.

''But I am not thinking of that right now. My focus is the Test series and I hope to score lots of runs here and get a recall in the One-day team too,'' said Laxman.

Laxman is not bogged down by the fact that under coach Greg Chappell, Team India has preferred young guns to experienced players and he is not considered among the best fielders.

''I have been working a lot on the overall game and my fitness.

I'm very pleased with the way I have shaped up and am quite prepared to take on the West Indies bowling here,'' he said.

Laxman is the second most experienced batsman in the team after Rahul Dravid and the Indian batting without Sachin Tendulkar was very much exposed in the One-day series.

''Sachin has been a consistent performer for us for the last 16 years. He is not playing is a big loss. It puts a lot of responsibility on me but there is no added pressure. It's my job.

Any one picked in the team has got responsibility to perform,'' said Laxman.

Laxman had top-scored for India in 2002 Test series in the Caribbean, scoring 474 runs at an average of 79.

''On these slow wickets, you have to play as late as possible. We have been brought up on slow wicket where we have to wait to play, it's the same here. But having said that, I think it is important to adjust to wicket and play shots that suit the conditions here,'' he said.

Laxman, however, sees a change in the wickets here.

''The pitches were slow even in 2002 other than the ones in Jamaica and Barbados. But I was seeing the One-day matches on TV and this time around they have turned a lot too,'' he said.

Laxman warned that slowing down of wickets is not good news for world cricket.

''Wickets slowing down is not good for the game. But the beauty of international cricket is that you can't always get good or bad wickets. As international travellers you have to adjust to the conditions and the wickets provided. I would definitely prefer bouncy and fast wickets that offer equal fight between bat and ball as in Australia or the West Indies of the seventies when ball came on nicely,'' he added.

An admirer of the cricketing crowd here, Laxman said, ''The beauty of Caribbean cricket is the knowledge and the passion of cricket lovers here. The atmosphere here is totally different and I just love it.''

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