V. V. S. Laxman says the Indian team is ready for the big challenge ahead and that there can be no better feeling than to start the year as the No. 1 side.

Before leaving for his fourth tour to South Africa, the 36-year-old Laxman said that this Indian team was quite capable of beating the home team in what he felt should be a very demanding series.

“The current South African team is a very balanced one with pacers like Dale Steyn and Albie Morkel forming a formidable combination and it has plenty of depth in batting too with allrounder Jacques Kallis in roaring form,” the India middle-order batsman said. “But, we have been doing really well abroad in recent times and hope to continue the good work,” said Laxman.

“We are aware of the fact that the wickets there will be bowler-friendly with a lot of bounce compared to the low and slow wickets here in India. We will play as the situation demands. Personally, I would be more delighted if I can play a few more match-winning knocks. I am really enjoying my batting and in the process also contributing my bit to the team's cause,” he said.

“The beauty of international cricket is the way it constantly tests a team's potential under different conditions. We have the potential to beat South Africa and it all boils down to how well we play on the given day. Personally, I believe we have to score atleast 350 runs in the first innings of a Test in South Africa to be in the driver's seat. And don't disregard our own bowling for we have really good fast bowlers too,” said Laxman.

Grateful to BCCI

Referring to the departure of the Indian team in batches, Laxman said that they were grateful to the BCCI for agreeing to send the players well in advance for the tough tour.

“I don't set any personal goals at any time. In the process of helping the team's cause, if I attain some goals, then it is a bonus. The team's interest is always my top priority,” Laxman added.

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