We will miss you VVS.
The Very Very Special and the Very Very Stylish Hyderabadi Laxman has decided to call it a day leaving a lot of fans like me in shock and disarray. I had been a fan of him since he made his debut in 1996 against South Africa in Ahmedabad. In the second innings when all the big wigs of the team collapsed he stood amidst the ruins with a classy 51. That gave the bowlers something to defend and thanks to Javagal Srinath’s heroics India went on to win this match back then. As a 12 year old, that day I was flabbergasted at the debuntant’s grit while facing Cronje’s undefeatables.
That I think was the beginning of the wristy master’s love affair with the third/fourth innings in the match. Today of the fabulous four batsman who have taken Indian cricket and batting standards to the pinnacle, VVS has the best batting average (48.88) in the second innings, the mighty Sachin (44.13), “the Wall” Dravid (41.83) and Dada Sourav (39.40) follow.
The other thing I like about him, his non complaining attitude, his cricketing journey has been extremely rocky.
Almost till 2008 there was never an instance where he was secure of his place in the team. Whenever he fails , the critics raise their pitch demanding his ouster from the team. For instance, spite of playing some of the greatest knocks and averaging over 51 in the last 3 years, many people raised their eyebrows when he was included in the squad against New Zealand last week. Laxman never responded to any of these taunts, he always let his bat do the talking.
In spite of proving himself in the top order with the historic knocks 281 in Calcutta 167 in Sydney etc … he did not complain when he was asked to come in at number 6. Such is his greatness that in the 102 Test innings at 5 or 6 in the batting order, VVS reached a half century 48 times! On 11 of those occasions, he made a century.
He is such a delight to watch, as the match goes and the innings go on, his batting becomes better and better, the way he plays fast bowlers and spinners is superb. Of all the batsmen I have seen, few are as good as him both on the onside and offside. His hunger for bouncy pitches and his love for challenges inspire me.
Ok, leave all that, how many times in the recent past did you stop watching the match when we had say 100+ runs to get and had say 2-3 wickets in hand only to get back to the channel an hour later knowing that Laxman engineered a turnaround and we are on the verge of victory. He has been the best crisis manager of ours in the last 5 years and one of the best master technician this country has ever produced.
Ask Australian’s and they will tell how they suffer from a Laxmanophobia , the wristy batsman’s best have always come against this man. While the world feared the Steves invincibles , the very Steve’s unbeatables feared the humongous challenge the stylish Hyderabadi offered to them.
It’s a shame that this legend never played a world cup but it’s history now. Finding a replacement for a player like him would be very very tough. Now it’s only Sachin, after his retirement I doubt if I would really follow test cricket. Right now, people are questioning the timing of the retirement and are speculating that all is not well between the board (BCCI)and VVS. I do not want to get into all that stuff now. For me a legend whom I love so much has resigned while he could have played for 2 more years. Miss you VVS. Miss your game, miss your artistry.