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Personalized predictions Express Cricket Subscribe to The Indian Express North American Edition Travel to Las Vegas, Bellagio, Venetian Channels Shopping Astrology Express Money Express Estates Express Travel Express Classifieds Home > Sports > Story Sports WHAT ARE GUYS LIKE THESE DOING IN PLACES LIKE THESE Far away from South Africa; Ganguly, Laxman fight their own battles While in remote Karad, VVS fields fitness question Sanasi Kelkar Posted online: Thursday, November 23, 2006 at 0000 hrs Print Email Karad, November 22: As it turned out, had it not been for two F words, the temporary address of VVS Laxman - exactly a decade after his India debut - would have been the swanky Elangani hotel in Durban and not Hotel Sangam in a somewhat obscure town of Karad. Advertisment Related Stories Kallis 119 not out, India 91 all outGanguly hopes to retain form on Mohali green-top Pakistan fight back after Lara?s 216Pandit?s family values: Team that eats together, stays togetherHope floats at Kotla But the people in the little-known sugarcane-country town were certainly not complaining ? after all it's the Very Very Special man's batting - not necessarily his Fitness or Fielding that they look forward to watching on a track that is supposed to be great for wielding the willow. With hoardings put up in advance proclaiming the forthcoming attractions (in the form of international stars Laxman, Sairaj Bahutule, Hrishikesh Kanitkar) a stream of crowd piled in from morning . By the time Laxman did arrive at the Chatrapati Shivaji stadium for his first glimpse at the pitch in the early evening ? accepting with a laugh the third bouquet he had been offered in as many minutes ?the sizable crowd stood in quite respect beyond the boundary, watching the man who had forced the mighty Australians ?to go back to the drawingboard? as Steve Waugh once put it, and hardly believing that he was in their midst. For Laxman a big score is what is on the mind. ?I always have a passion to do well, and especially for Hyderabad because this is the team that brought me into the limelight. It would be a dream to win the Ranji Trophy for Hyderabad, and would like to start on a good note,? he said. So fourteen years since making his maiden first class appearence and a sterling 40 centuries, 57 fifties and over 13,000 runs in addition to his international accolades later, had his approach changed? ?I was a completely different player after the 1999 Australia series (a side against which he now averages 52.03 in Tests ? 10 more than his usual 42.70, and 46.18 in ODIs as against his regular 31.17).? And though he steered clear of all topics that did not pertain to Ranji Trophy, he did decline to believe that that he had been labeled as a Test cricketer. ?If I was labelled as a Test cricketer, I would not have been given openings in ODIs during my career.? Recovered from the injury that forced him out of the Challenger Series, Laxman said he felt ?Okay? after playing two Duleep Trophy matches for South Zone, and was ?looking good? for the upcoming domestic season. But he even promises a lot more beyond just the domestic sphere. ?It's a great feeling to have played 10 years of international cricket, but there's still more years to come by, more performances for the country and match-winning knocks to play,? he says.

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