Five reasons Laxman was Very Very Special

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: As the cricket ball swings or spins towards slip and gully after leaving the bowler’s hand, every batsman with a coaching manual in his kit either prepares to shoulder arms and let it go past to the wicketkeeper, or cut and drive it in the direction of cover and cover-point.

Alone among modern batsmen, Vangipurappu Venkata Sai Laxman aka V.V.S. Laxman, had the unique gift to whip it to exactly the opposite direction—between squareleg and midwicket—as spectators and viewers ooh-ed and aah-ed while the bowler and fielders suddenly adjusted their field of vision.

Verily, he was, in a manner of speaking, the world’s greatest leg-break “batsman”, those supper wrists turning anti-clockwise as a matter of course.

If Hyderabad was famous for its biryani, so was it for V.V.S. Laxman’s silken grace while he was at the crease.

He lacked Rahul Dravid’s concentration, Sachin Tendulkar’s power and Virender Sehwag‘s devil-may care approach, but each time when the team was in dire stress he delivered. And how!

Granting every batsman will have to pack up and go one day, what made VVS the special player that he became, a legend in his own way?

#  Laxman had supreme confidence in his ability for he become the ‘Rescue Man’ time and again. He revelled in adverse and completely hopeless situations like the one in Eden Gardens in 2001. The tougher the opponent, the tougher the situation, it was more or less certain Laxman would deliver.

Australians by nature are tough as nails and never give an inch. It is this ability to take them on his terms that they came to admire in Laxman immensely. In him, they saw one of their own. That is why his 281 after being put to follow-on will rank one of the finest ever seen in Test cricket.

#  Laxman had to do the recue act most of the times with lower-order batsmen and more often with tail-enders. He gave them the confidence and it is in his company some astonishing draw or victories that have been achieved.

Ishant Sharma,  Pragyan Ojha, Zaheer Khan, Anil Kumble all brought famous wins with Laxman at the other end battling the opposition and also battling his perennial back ache.

# Laxman ‘s batting was sheer poetry in motion. You could see Keats and Shelley guiding with him when he was on a song. Even when India was losing a match in Australaia, his 167  littered with boundaries, made the Aussies feel they had lost the match.

# Laxman right from his Ranji Trophy days had the habit of chalking up triple centuries in quick time. He never occupied crease for the sake of it, never doddered around eighties looking for the hundred, never clobbered a cricket ball. Yet runs came in quick time, sheer timing and placements doing the job.

# Laxman after Dravid was the best slip fielder in the side. Most of our fast bowlers had a reason to be thankful as they knew they had safe pair of hands in second slips waiting for the snicks.

Nobody will ever know why such a one-man rescue team, who represented India for 17 years was ignored when it came to the World Cup. Their reasoning was he was far too slow. Those who are singing hosannas of him today themselves saw to him he was dropped from side in favour of  Dinesh Mongia.

He had a poor tour in England and Australia but so did almost the entire team save Dravid in England. The so-called one-day experts hardly measure up to exacting standards of Test cricket and it would have been wiser to have Laxman  around to guide the youngsters at least in the home series.

What made Laxman who was selected to play against New Zealand and who should have played against Australia and England at home suddenly announce his retirement? Did Krishnamachari Srikkanth tell him he was required for only series against New Zealand?

Did any of the cricketer turned commentators question his usefulness to the team anymore?

Why did Laxman decide not to play even in front of his home crowd in Hyderabad and quit in a huff?

We will never know.

Now it looks like it was a farewell match he played in Mysore when he scored 169 just 10 days back while playing in Shafi Darashah Tournament  for Hyderabad against Karnataka.

Good bye, VVS. You brought that rare grace and charm that could have only come from the land of Jaisimha and Azhar. The days of wristy flicks are over in Indian cricket.

Also read: India’s greatest match winning batsman is…

Not bones, he has ball bearings in his wrists

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4 Responses to “Five reasons Laxman was Very Very Special”

  1. Robin Says:

    You cant be Very Very SILENT if you want to remain in Indian team.You need to have your own lobby,unfortunately, South Zone selector lobbies for players like Badrinath.When i was talking to TN star Sharath who did comptete with VVS and Dravid for a place during his days,Sharath remembered how both VVS and Dravid played out 2 full days in a SZ league for Duleep trophy.He then decided that its better to stay and play for TN rather comptete for a place against them.He also said as long as they keep scoring no less than 60 or 70 per innings they will lose their place.I think that was a wise decision by Sharath 15 years ago.

  2. tyagaraj sharma Says:

    The joy that VVS provided while at the crease was something which neither Dravid nor Sachin could do. Admittedly, Sachin had ( has) the staying power,with the powerful Mumbai lobby–commentators and former cricketers backing him. No doubt with his records the Mumbaikar will always remain on top.And he will always decide which series to play in, a privilege never granted to VVS and Dravid. Or, to Saurav.

    To me ,neither Dravid nor VVS ever had the kind of support that Sachin enjoyed/enjoys . Commentators like Manjrekar were always pointing out how VVS was slow on the field but would prefer to shut up when the same Laxman ‘s reflexes led to outstanding catches in the slip.Others were harsh on him for his running between the wickets. It was almost as if they wanted him out of the India team.
    Conveniently,the same commmentators would never utter a word if Sachin misfielded or dropped a catch,something that proved that he was no different than others.

    Also ,compare the number of matches which Sachin has helped India win. With those that Dravid and VVS did. You will get your answer re who the better players were ; contributors, saviours of the Indian team . Time and again.Not just once.

    Yet, both VVS and Dravid have been eased out (forced to retire). Yes,like the other members of the team,they too failed in Australia and England. But again,beats me why only the two were forced ,discreetly,to quit.
    Obviously,somewhere the lobbies of the two states the two gentle giants belong to,also failed.
    Ironically,you also have a situation where a Yuvraj Singh,without playing a reasonable number of matches to test his fitness,is taken into the Indian team.Nobody has tested his fitness levels after his recovery from cancer.
    While desiring the best for Yuvi, one cannot wish away the injustice of it all .
    I am sure Dravid and VVS fans must be wondering about that too as would the two ill-treated cricketers!

  3. H.R.Bapu Satyanarayana Says:

    Good observation

  4. debasisha mohapatra Says:

    I can see how churmuri’s street cred is sliding unless it is a provocative article which directly or tangentially invoves kannada pride.VVS draws such low reaction.May Be he never needed it,anyway.

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