Tuesday, August 28, 2012

V.V.S. Laxman:The Mark of a Diminishing Era.


     Cricket fans were delighted to call Vangipurappu Venkata Sai Laxman as Very Very Special Laxman and undoubtedly he deserved every letter in that sobriquet. V.V.S. Laxman had indeed been a special thing in Indian batting for over a decade and a half. Though he lacked the charisma of Ganguly, Dravid and the incomparable Tendulkar, he formed the formidable quartet of Indian batting with these three, the quartet which reigned supreme for about a decade starting from the late 90s. Laxman was endowed with a natural stroke play which stayed somewhere between sublime art and absolute elegance. He may not have had the wristy elegance of his fellow Hyderabadi Mohammed Azaruddin in ditto but at times he reminded us of the former Indian skipper with those silky touches. He batted as if batting is a 9 to 5 job and all he needed was to stay there in the middle. He never went after the bowling, was not in the mood to keep the scoreboard ticking and importantly not an ‘entertainer’ in the ’20-20’ era sense of the term. Thus he had been a quintessential Test cricketer and the bitter side of it was that he wasn’t a regular fixture in Indian ODI squads. During his career India played four world cup tourneys and Laxman had to watch all of them from the comfort of his home. 

The Kolkata Test in which India came from behind and turned the table on Australia Laxman scripted his unforgettable 281 in the second innings. That was his best knock and we all knew what was in store in this humble Hyderabadi.I remember one commentator quipping during this epic knock “He bats like a Maharaj”. But our Maharaj didn’t do justice to his cricketing potential on many occasions, may be our rajah wasn’t that ruthless in his hunts and let go his prey off the gun. He should have raised his bat and helmet- showing that piece of cloth that bulwarked his bald head from the rough inside of the headgear- in the cricketing fields more often than he did. This is the only complaint we have against this languid but committed cricketer. Laxman is a mark of a diminishing era in which cricket is played for the sake of cricket. We will miss your unhurried batting and that toothy smile VVS. 

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