New Delhi: The very mention of an India-Australia series would invariably revolve around the stylish-yet-defiant VVS Laxman and his epic 281 at the Eden Test nine years ago.
The senior batsman played the sheet-anchor role as India turned it around miraculously to win 2-1 coming from a match down against Australia.
Laxman hopes the innings would continue to inspire the team but it was important for them to focus on the present and win the upcoming two-match series beginning in Mohali on October 1.
The Hyderbadi ace said he was personally looking forward to yet another good series against the team from Down Under.
The 2001 Eden Test is part of the cricketing folklore now and Laxman said focus should be on what is in hand right now.
"It was a long way back. But all of us still take confidence from that series. It (Eden Test) was a historic one that continues to inspire and give confidence whenever you`re in trouble," he said.
Known for his fighting knocks while making them look sublime, Laxman said, "At the same time, we have to be in the present. Any series involving the two countries is watched very closely from followers of both the sides."
As a matter of fact, in the last two years Laxman averages 70.38 especially after his match-winning knocks in India`s previous series in Sri Lanka.
In Galle, he found himself shepherding the tail, though India lost out. At the second Test in SSC, Laxman stood with Sachin Tendulkar at a crucial moment as India drew the match.
His best came at the P Sara Oval, where Laxman came into his own with the chips down and the pitch playing fickle as he battled a back injury and pressure of a fourth innings chase to score his 16th Test hundred and a series-levelling win in August.
But Laxman said it is the start of a new season and it`s important for them to start on a winning note with some tough series against New Zealand and South Africa lined up before the World Cup.
"Personally, I am really looking forward to the series. I want to keep up my good work going. I want to perform, play some match-winning knocks."
"I have spent last two weeks at the NCA, did quite a lot of practice, hitting at the nets. I am really happy with my form and waiting for the series to get going."
"It`s going to be a very important series. It`s the start of a new season. We will be playing Test cricket almost after two months. This is going to be a crucial season with series against New Zealand (at home) and South Africa (away) coming up. We must start on a winning note," Laxman said.
India have not lost in Mohali for the last 16 years and Laxman said, "The condition is just perfect at Mohali. Though I am yet to have a look at the wicket."
Asked whether it`s advantage India with the Ricky Ponting-led side touring with a youngsters having four players who are yet to play the five-day version, Laxman said it would not be easy for the hosts.
"Aussies play tough cricket. They play to their potential, do their processes right. We need to keep working hard. They have a good side with a lot of youngsters. They have always been very tough as opponents and are performing well at this level for last few years."
"We must concentrate on our strong points and focus on our game rather than thinking much about our opponents."
Laxman hoped that led by speedster Zaheer Khan, Indian bowling attack would fire up.
"We have a very good and balanced bowling attack. With Sreesanth back along with (Pragyan) Ojha, (Amit) Mishra and Ishant (Sharma) and the presence of the experience duo of Zaheer (Khan) and Harbhajan (Singh), we have a balanced attack. I am sure they would fire up."
"As for batting, we have a power-packed line-up with Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir on top. The opening combination can decimate any attack right from the word go. Our batting has done well in various times and I am sure this time also we will keep up with the good show," said the senior batsman.
Originally planned as a seven-match ODI series, the Indian cricket Board squeezed in two Tests in an attempt to prolong India`s reign as the numero uno Test side. Laxman said it was a good idea.
"A two-match series is just fine. In fact it`s good to have two Tests and followed by three ODIs instead of playing a long seven-match one-day series. We must compliment the BCCI for squeezing in two Tests along with the ODIs that will follow."
Asked about India`s chances at the World Cup which is less than 150 days away, Laxman said the co-hosts are good enough to lift the trophy.
"We have a very strong side, I hope the boys would do well in the home condition. The potential is amazing, I hope we win the World Cup."