August 25, 2012

Very Very Special Laxman! by Prasanna Rao

"If you get Dravid, great. If you get Sachin, brilliant. But if you get Laxman, it’s a miracle."- Steve Waugh

VVS Laxman announced his retirement from the Test Arena (He was not part of the ODI team from 2006) with immediate effect before the New Zeland series at home.  Prasanna Rao writes about the Indian cricketer VVS Laxman.

Very Very Special Laxman! 
by Prasanna Rao

At an emotional press conference on August 18th (And Aussies are planning to change the Thanksgiving day to August 18th!) at his hometown Hyderabad Laxman retired ending a span of 16 years of top flight cricket.  "It's been 16 years since I have made my international debut for India and I think it is the right time to move on," Laxman said at his press conference ending a glorious career.

Laxman at a emotional press conference

      Laxman retired reasoning that he wanted to give the youngsters a chance to perform at home conditions before the upcoming tour of South Africa in 2013 (A Gentleman who always looked to serve the country before personal interests).  "His on and off field conduct was impeccable and he will remain a genuine role model for youngsters. We will miss him in the dressing room and so will his countless fans,” Gambhir said shortly after Laxman announced his retirement.
Gambhir with VVS Laxman

      Rahul Dravid one of the closest friends of Laxman said "All I can say is that Laxman played in a highly successful era of Test cricket for India and played a big role in that success, both with his performance on the field and personality off it,"  There is no doubt in my mind that he always had the respect of players across the world, be it his teammates or opponents. He was not only a nice guy but a fantastic cricketer, that was well known."

Best friends!

 Known as Very Very Special Player. That’s how the great Australian teams of 1990s and 2000s remember Vangipurappu Venkata Sai Laxman, popularly known as VVS Laxman. They used to call him a special player despite the presence of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly in the Indian team. At a time when batsmen around the world feared facing their bowling, the stylish batsman from Hyderabad tormented them; tortured them; frustrated them with his majestic batsmanship.
What set Laxman apart was he used to strive to perform under tough conditions.  When the WALL failed, Master Blaster failed ,God of Offside failed India used to fall back on Very Very Special and he was there not to disappoint them. And the passion he had to win. (Ever seen him yell at P.Ojha at Mohali when the tail ender went for a non-existent run.) The wristy hands, the elegance, and effortlessy pulling the short balls, flawless technique was his forte.  When he was at his full form it was a treat to watch him.  Where the batting average dips in the second Innings Laxman performed exceedingly well in the second innings which is why he came up with many match winning performance! (Whatever Laxman does from here, he will do well, for it will be his second innings in life') Along with his batting skills he was  excellent in slip cordon. Along with Rahul Dravid he formed one of the safest slip cordon India has ever had. "CATCHES WIN MATCHES". And without Laxman it would have been difficult!
Laxman represented India in 134 Tests, scoring 8781 runs at an average of 45.97. Laxman did not perform well in the first few years of International cricket after making a debut in 1996 against South Africa. But his majestic knock of 167 against Australia shot him into fame (And from there his love affair with the Australian attack began). If this was not sufficient for the Australians a knock of 281 was waiting for them at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata in 2001. (Then the highest score by an Indian batsmen).
After the record stand at Eden Gardens

  Part of record stand with Rahul Dravid, it set India up with a stunning victory and ending the marauding Australia's 16 match winning streak.
For all the Laxman fanatics he will still be playing for Hyderabad in the Ranji Trophy (Oh God, pls spare the bowlers) for 2012-2013 season. If you want to get a glimpse of him you know which team to follow.
There may be another Rahul Dravid or Sourav Ganguly.
 If God wishes, there may be another Sachin Tendulkar. But it can safely be said that there won’t be another Laxman.
P.S- I have been always a Sachin Tendulkar Fan but after watching some videos before writing this article up I am having second thoughts . BOW DOWN!