Devendra Pandey

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‘It is a different joy scoring abroad’

As he prepares to leave for the Test series, VVS Laxman talks to Devendra Pandey about unfinished business in New Zealand.

As he prepares to leave for the Test series, VVS Laxman talks to Devendra Pandey about unfinished business in New Zealand.


Wary of the seaming conditions in New Zealand, VVS Laxman has been busy practising with a bowling machine back home in Hyderabad for the last couple of weeks. As he packs his bags and prepares to leave to be with the team, he speaks with The Indian Express on the challenges ahead.


You've played 102 Tests, but only two in New Zealand. What are your expectations from the series?


Not only me, there are other team members as well who haven't played much cricket there. I've done well in almost every country, be it the West Indies or Australia. I'm looking forward to doing well in New Zealand. (As a team) It's a great opportunity to make amends, especially since we haven't won a single series there in forty years.


You didn't have a great run in those two matches. Is there some unfinished business to be taken care of this time?


We'd lost badly the last time, and I didn't do well in either game. I always cherish my performances abroad - it's a different joy scoring abroad. It gives a different kind of satisfaction. As I said, I've scored everywhere else, only New Zealand is left. I'm confident of putting up a good show there this time.


Even other Indian batsmen have struggled to score there, at least on the last two tours. How big a challenge will it be to tackle the swing?


In the last two series, we played on pitches that were not ideal for Test cricket. Then again, even the NZ batsmen struggled to score runs. It will be a challenge for all of us, since we don't play in such conditions.


But you'll get enough time to acclimatise this time - there are almost 15 days preparation time before playing the first Test.


No matter how much practice you do here (in India), it won't help much when you go abroad. This 15-day period will be very crucial for us, we all will get an idea of the conditions, and will get used to the surface as well.


You must have got some idea about the surface from the two T20 matches?


I don't think so. I don't know what kind of surfaces will be there for the one-dayers. I expect the surfaces for Twenty20 and Test matches to be very different. The only thing that's clear from the two matches was that the Kiwis gave us a good fight, and we are hoping for a good challenge ahead.


Is going to New Zealand any different from other foreign tours?


It's like any other overseas tour, except the fact that the wind plays a very crucial role. If you see, all three grounds we will be playing on have open surroundings. You can't plan much in advance, the only thing you can do is just wait and watch.


What has been Gary Kirsten's impact on the Indian team?


Gary has done an amazing job, the entire team revolve around him. He makes sure that there is a happy atmosphere in the dressing room. Though I'm not in New Zealand, we are in touch and he's kept me informed about the surfaces and conditions there.


Summing up, will it be a dream mission for the Indian team?


We all want to do well there. Our record is poor in New Zealand and everybody in the team want to come home with a victory.