When it comes to cricketing spectacles, VVS Laxman in full flow is a sight to behold. He may not be the greatest technician the game has produced, but Laxman has that rare quality to leave opponents and spectators awestruck by his languid stroke-play.
Laxman’s initial foray in the international arena in the late ’90s didn’t meet with too much success, with the Hyderabadi batsman even opening the innings on a few occasions for India. But with a knock of 167, an innings that Sachin Tendulkar described as ‘watching a set of highlights’, at Sydney against Australia in January 2000, Laxman proved that he belonged to the big league. A year later, at Kolkata, he scored 281 runs and was involved in a 376-run partnership with Rahul Dravid against Australia. The duo engineered a dramatic reversal of fortunes for their side - India ended up beating the visiting Australians after having been asked to follow on.
Riding on these performances, Laxman became integral to India’s batting fortunes in the early 2000s. Batting alongside Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly – Laxman played his part in some memorable overseas Indian wins.
But like his mythical namesake, Laxman hasn’t got quite the same recognition that has come the way of his illustrious peers. At Adelaide in 2003 and then in Rawalpindi in 2004 where Laxman scored 148 and 71, he was upstaged by Dravid’s scores of 233 and 270. Then in Johannesburg, in 2006, S Sreesanth’s eight-wicket haul in the match overshadowed Laxman’s crucial knock of 73 in the second innings. A similar storyline unfolded at Perth in 2008 when Irfan Pathan’s all-round performance trumped Laxman’s second innings score of 79.
In 2010, though, Laxman’s heroics have earned him many more admirers. His innings of 103* against Sri Lanka at Colombo in August, 73* against Australia at Mohali in October and 91 at Ahmedabad against New Zealand in November, have either won India the match or saved them the blushes.
Acknowledged as a master of the fourth innings chase, Laxman has found a place in cricketing history as a batsman of fine timing and rare grace that combine to produce exquisite displays of batting.
|Test debut||v South Africa, Ahmedabad, Nov 20, 1996|
|ODI debut||v Zimbabwe,Cuttack, Apr 09, 1998|
|IPL debut||Deccan Chargers v Kolkata Knight Riders, Kolkata, Apr 20, 2008|
|CLT20 debut||Deccan Chargers v Somerset, Hyderabad, Oct 10, 2009|