New Delhi: VVS Laxman, who has proved to be Australia's nemesis several times, is again ready to take on one of the toughest Test sides in world cricket as the stylish Indian prepares for what would be his final tour Down Under.
"You always want to prove yourself against the toughest opposition. Most of the Australian teams I have played against had some great players, and it was a challenge to take them on. It has always brought the best out of me," said Laxman.
India will begin their tour to Australia with the first Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground starting December 26.
The Aussies have suffered the most at the hands of the Hyderabadi batsman.
The 37-year-old's wristy strokes and calm demeanor made many Australian bowlers toil hard and ponder.
Michael Clarke's new-look Australia may have dropped down the world rankings, there was no hint of complacency from Laxman.
"Australia's fighting spirit and the refusal to give up make them the toughest opponents. They will not give you anything easily. Even at Under-19 level, it was that way. They were very aggressive and they were quick to identify your weaknesses," Laxman told WISDEN Extra.
Laxman said that he has always enjoyed pitches where the ball comes on to the bat.
"I have always enjoyed pitches where there is pace and bounce. Australian grounds also tend to have fast outfields where you get full value for your shots," he said.
Laxman's game assumes an all together different significance when it comes to Aussies, whom he has tormented for years.
In 25 Tests against Australia, Laxman averages 55.58, including his memorable innings of 281 at Kolkata in March 2001, which inspired India to a famous victory after following on.
In his 11 Tests in Australia, Laxman has scored four centuries, including three (167, 178 and 109) at the SCG.
But going into the Melbourne Test, Laxman will have a point to prove as he averages only 18.50 from three matches there, with a highest score of just 42.
Laxman's affection for cricket in Australia goes back as far as his schooldays.
"As a young boy, I used to wake up early in the morning to watch cricket from Australia, when we had a telecast, and I loved to listen to the likes of Richie Benaud, Bill Lawry and Ian Chappell give insights about the game. To actually make runs there was something special," he said.