A few years ago, maybe five or six, people were left fretted with the thought of an Indian cricket without it’s “Fabulous Five”! Till yesterday there were two that were still a part of this prestigious congregation. Only one remains now.
Vangipurappu Venkata Sai Laxman’s 16 year long career in international cricket reached a full stop when the stylish Hyderabadi batsman decided to call it quits from all forms of international cricket this afternoon. For months there had been a debate, speculations paved their way through, questions were raised at VVS’s place in the team and finally the great man had to depart. Whether this decision to retire was forced on him or not is something that will always be kept in the dark. Players like him will not do anything that might disrupt the dignity of the game. They come from a different breed and such is their class!
His career may not have be as impressive as that of Rahul Dravid when one looks at the stats but his contributions to India have been extremely vital. Even that sounds like an understatement to me! As a result of some bizarre decisions, he never got a chance to figure in India’s ODI team on a long term basis but when a team does well, nobody asks a question. However, VVS Laxman did well to make sure that he doubled his performance for every chance he got in representing India in the whites.
“Lazy Elegance”. That’s one term that is apt for him. His cover drives seemed nonchalant which provided the impression that such kind of deliveries were a question on his quality. If cover drives irritated the bowlers. his on drives drew them nuts. No one dared to bowl a half volley to Laxman, not just on leg stump, but on any one of the three of the stumps. They would be dispatched effortlessly onto the on side irrespective of the number of the fielders patrolling that corridor.
Unarguably, the best innings that came of his willow was the 281 against Australia. It will be a waste of time for me and for those reading this article if I went into the details of that match. That match, that moment is planted in every Indian’s mind in a place where it can never be deleted from. The combination of Hyderabadi Biryani and Jammy proved too spicy for the Australians who were placed at the helm of their torment not on one, but on two occasions. The other one being in Adelaide.
Out of his 17 test centuries, six of them came against the mighty Australians for whom he developed a special liking to. Be it Kolkatta, Adelaide, Sydner,Nagpur, VVS Laxman stood like a fort between them. In the few opportunities that he got to play for India in ODIs, he made sure that he made his presence felt against them. It will come of no surprise to me if 18th August is declared a ‘national holiday’ in Australia for this is the day that VVS Laxman retired from cricket.
Although he loved batting at No.3 , a benign request from captain made him bat at No.5. In 134 test matches, Laxman scored 8781 runs with 17 test centuries next to his name. Phenomenal record!
India loses another one of it’s gem. A gem that perhaps did not receive the credit that he deserved but played with all his heart. You will be missed. From the bottom of out heart, we would like to say a huge thank you for your contribution and for the memories. Adieu VVS Laxman!