Nottingham, Jul 27: India opener Abhinav Mukund has admitted replacing Virender Sehwag is an almost impossible task but insisted he could serve his side well against England by playing his own game.
Sehwag, whose aggressive approach at the top of the order has turned on its head the notion of 'seeing off the new ball', is currently sidelined with an elbow injury.
He missed the first Test at Lord's, which England won by 196 runs, and is not expected to be fit in time for the second of a four-match series starting at Trent Bridge on Friday.
In his absence Mukund, playing only his fourth Test and first in England, made 49 off 88 balls in tricky conditions during a stay of nearly two hours in the first innings at Lord's before falling for 12 - the same score as India great Sachin Tendulkar made in the tourists' second innings.
"It's big boots to fill but I want to play my own game," the 21-year-old Mukund told reporters at Trent Bridge on Wednesday.
"I don't want to replace Sehwag. I just want to play how I want to play. If it comes off it's going to help the team."
And the left-hander added: "To be part of this set-up, anyone who comes in as a new batsman will learn every day. Even in the nets, there are so many people you look up to.
"A pat on the back from someone like Sachin does anyone's confidence the world of good.
"I've definitely improved over the last few months and I'm looking forward to keeping improving."
England will replace India at the top of the ICC's Test Championship table if they win this series by 2-0 or better but Mukund said India had the resilience to bounce back from a comprehensive defeat at Lord's.
"We're all disappointed but there's a lot of good things we can take from the previous game," he said. "It's a four-match series.
"Being the world number one team, the India team has conquered a lot of challenges on the way here. We're experienced enough. We've come here to take on this challenge."
India hope Sehwag, who has so far scored 7,694 runs in 87 Tests with 22 centuries since making his debut in 2001, will be available in time for the third Test at Edgbaston starting on August 10.
Before this series, former Australia captain Ian Chappell highlighted Sehwag's absence from the opening encounters as a huge blow to India's hopes.
"There's no batsman in the world who can disrupt bowling plans quicker than Sehwag," Chappell wrote in a column on a website.
"This is where Sehwag's absence hurts India; being at the top of the order, he's likely to gain the upper hand in the series just by batting normally in the first session." AFP