November 23, 2007

VVS. Again.

He was, as he often is in Test matches, the best batsman on show
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I took in a session of the second day of the Delhi Test from a strange angle: very high up in the West Stand and perpendicular to the wicket. The novelty of watching the action side-on (fast bowling seems faster because you can't see the ball once someone like Akhtar lets it go and it's startling to see how far forward batsmen stretch in defence) soon wore off because it was hard to tell why someone was beaten or what the ball was doing.

Wasim Jaffer plays the flick to the square leg boundary as well as any man alive. He brought one off against Akhtar in the first over of the Indian innings and for a fleeting moment he looked like Greg Chappell in his prime, all upright elegance. He hit three more like that, two off Sohail Tanvir and another one off Akhtar and they all went for four. Jaffer is an enigma: it's hard to reconcile the man who plays the grand on-drive and that lordly flick, with the anonymous player who will wait inertly upon events, over after over, whose bat sounds like cracked sheeshum instead of seasoned willow each time he pushes or drives on the off-side. I like him very much: I just wish he'd hurry up and make another hundred so that we can begin to take his place for granted at the top of the order.

Yuvraj strolled into the arena occasionally in his capacity as twelfth man or something. Each time that happened lots of people rushed to the front of the stand and peered down and screamed "Yuvi!" The man in front of me, who stood and obscured the action whenever a shot was played (he'd leap to his feet, adjust himself and press his cell phone to his ear in practiced sequence) complained to his seated friend about Yuvraj's exclusion. Not playing him in Delhi—saalon nein Dilli mein nahin khilaya—seemed to aggravate the injustice done him. I began to feel like an Arsenal fan marooned among Man U maniacs. Yahoos for Yuvraj to the left of me, Lumpen against Laxman behind me. Unwilling to watch VVS make his magic among these brutes, I left the stadium when Tendulkar ran himself out and found myself a sympathetic television set.

The rest, I hope, will be history. Laxman came in when the score was 88 for 4 and inspite of losing Dravid on 93 and Dhoni at 208, he steered India to within a boundary of the Pakistan total by close of play. He was, as he often is in Test matches, the best batsman on show. It is absurd that he bats at six. Kumble has done nearly everything right in his debut as captain. Before the match began he was forthright in his endorsement of Laxman as an automatic selection for the Test team. Now that VVS has vindicated his judgment, the skipper should promote him to five in the batting order, ahead of Ganguly. Number three would be better, but down here in the VVS dugout, we aren't in a hurry. Test cricket's our game: we're used to taking things one day at a time.

Mukul Kesavan is a writer based in New Delhi

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • punter007 on December 29, 2007, 14:15 GMT

    People don't understand that Laxmans 71 match saving innings in the first test match has raised morale and confidence for upcoming matches, If Laxman did not save the match for India in Delhi they would have lost the test even with gangulay or Yuvraj singh is failing uterly in Australia, Hez Lucky to be playing with Fantastic Four otherwise I strongly believe he does not deserve a place in the test team. Laxman's stats Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave BF SR 100 50 4s 6s CtSt

    Tests 87 142 20 5360 281 43.93 11024 48.62 11 30 740 4 92 0 ODIs 86 83 7 2338 131 30.76 3282 71.23 6 10 222 4 39 0

    Yuvraj's Stats

    MatInns NO Runs HS Ave BF SR 100 50 4s 6s CtSt Tests 21 33 4 1006 169 34.68 1804 55.76 3 3 147 6 22 0 ODIs 195 177 26 5573 139 36.90 6434 86.61 8 34 571 81 62 0

    look at those stats and please don't compare Laxman with Yuvraj.

  • Sam on December 24, 2007, 11:39 GMT

    Definately V.V.S.laxman is one of the underrated batsman in the world of cricket.His record against australia shows why we need him for the team. But everytime he used to be the victim to provide place for a young batsman or a bowler. If batsman like ganguly or pathan hit a century every media highlits them,but we cant seen any appreciation on laxmans performance. I think after Dravid,he is the technically pure player in the world.We need many more laxmans and wish he will become the test captain of India after Kumbles retirement.

  • Kartik on December 20, 2007, 5:53 GMT

    I'm not surprised that you'd let Ganguly slip down the order, but he's gone on to prove himself in the Pakistan series..How much longer should he be victimised? If VVS' innings in Delhi saved India, the partnership between Ganguly and Yuvraj saved India from a series levelling loss. On the same pitch, against the same opposition, VVS failed. I'm not implying that he needs to be dropped for that, but your suggestion that he should bat higher than Ganguly, is'nt prudent on current form. Ganguly is probably in the best form of his career and India needs to groom Yuvraj to become India's batting mainstay once the golden quartet retires, which is not quite so far in the future.

  • Anonymous on December 12, 2007, 20:01 GMT

    starting eleven for india on tour of aus for test should be jaffer, yuvraj, dravid, sachin, sourav, laxman, dhoni, kumble, zaher, irfan, (either rp singh or harbhajan or ishant)

    This combination bring out most potential of all player which india has and has shown good performance.

  • Sriram L on December 10, 2007, 7:27 GMT

    Mukul, You may be a die-hard VVS fan, but as prashant rightly put it, you need n't indulge yourself in blatant Yuvi bashing to justify your point. Please try to maintain some neutrality in your articles. You can praise VVS for his good innings, but don't make it sound as though he did it all on his own. All of VVSs masterpieces in Indian victories were possible because of some very fine support acts. Dhoni played a very mature innings. I would have VVS ahead of Sourav on any day, but not ahead of Yuvi any longer. Laxman for sure does not know how to play with the tail. Yuvraj can atleast make his presence with the last men, count with some big hitting. In current form, i would have the following in this order : Jaffer,Dravid,Laxman,Tendulkar,Ganguly,Yuvraj,Dhoni,Pathan,Kumble,Zaheer,RP Singh

  • Prashant on December 9, 2007, 20:34 GMT

    Mukul Dude, see I commented 2 weeks before on this blog that to praise VVS you do not have to say bad things to Yuvi, and now you see how Yuvi has turned it around. I would love to see your comments or may be one blog entry circling around Yuvi's innings. You had told Yuvi is a tried and tested failure, tell me how does do you feel when you are made to eat your words?

  • raghu on December 9, 2007, 12:01 GMT

    After watching yet another failure innings from karthik today, it reallu amazes me that viru has not been selected for the tour...As I an chappell sums it up in one of his articles, it is not easyto manage and score the way viru did at the MCG against a decent australian attack... Sure Viru may not be in the form he was, but the key word here is form.... Because Viru still hasnt quite reached the stage where age has taken over him, so he still has the potential... To nearly score double hundreds against ausralia in australia proves the potential and the class of this batsman. Whereas karthik still hasnt proved his potential to these standards though he has played a couple of useful innings.... But scoring double hundreds against an attack like australia in australia and that too in such quick time really shows the pontial of the man... As far as form goes, even karthick has failed , so I would rather give the more dangerous of the two batsmen the chance which clearly is Viru...

  • Paul on December 6, 2007, 11:18 GMT

    Shanthan, said it perfectly, this man never gets his due, because he aint too flashy or doesn't have the killer looks!!! Hope Jaffer also doesn't get his fate.

    Yuvi can wait.

  • C K Naidu on December 5, 2007, 7:38 GMT

    No doubt current indian batting line up is a great one, it has sheer class of likes of laxman, sachin, grit and determination of dravis and off late Ganguly to some extent.But according to me what it lacks is flamboyence and dominance, what there used to be with likes of sachin of 90's and Azaharuddin in his prime. it was sad to see laxman fail to dominate in delhi test even if lower down batsman were getting out. Same with Sachin who playes rather sedately off late. Even worse to see Dhoni playing two very sluggish innings with strike rate of not more than 60 when demand of the situation was something else. That is why i believe this is a perfect time for Yuvi to get in the team at number 5 or 6.

  • ambik on December 1, 2007, 16:58 GMT

    Jaff heard you or read your blog ! so now thats one spot done and dusted. Shall we go right to the bottom and find out what do with No. 11 ? He's the other enigma in this team !

  • punter007 on December 29, 2007, 14:15 GMT

    People don't understand that Laxmans 71 match saving innings in the first test match has raised morale and confidence for upcoming matches, If Laxman did not save the match for India in Delhi they would have lost the test even with gangulay or Yuvraj singh is failing uterly in Australia, Hez Lucky to be playing with Fantastic Four otherwise I strongly believe he does not deserve a place in the test team. Laxman's stats Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave BF SR 100 50 4s 6s CtSt

    Tests 87 142 20 5360 281 43.93 11024 48.62 11 30 740 4 92 0 ODIs 86 83 7 2338 131 30.76 3282 71.23 6 10 222 4 39 0

    Yuvraj's Stats

    MatInns NO Runs HS Ave BF SR 100 50 4s 6s CtSt Tests 21 33 4 1006 169 34.68 1804 55.76 3 3 147 6 22 0 ODIs 195 177 26 5573 139 36.90 6434 86.61 8 34 571 81 62 0

    look at those stats and please don't compare Laxman with Yuvraj.

  • Sam on December 24, 2007, 11:39 GMT

    Definately V.V.S.laxman is one of the underrated batsman in the world of cricket.His record against australia shows why we need him for the team. But everytime he used to be the victim to provide place for a young batsman or a bowler. If batsman like ganguly or pathan hit a century every media highlits them,but we cant seen any appreciation on laxmans performance. I think after Dravid,he is the technically pure player in the world.We need many more laxmans and wish he will become the test captain of India after Kumbles retirement.

  • Kartik on December 20, 2007, 5:53 GMT

    I'm not surprised that you'd let Ganguly slip down the order, but he's gone on to prove himself in the Pakistan series..How much longer should he be victimised? If VVS' innings in Delhi saved India, the partnership between Ganguly and Yuvraj saved India from a series levelling loss. On the same pitch, against the same opposition, VVS failed. I'm not implying that he needs to be dropped for that, but your suggestion that he should bat higher than Ganguly, is'nt prudent on current form. Ganguly is probably in the best form of his career and India needs to groom Yuvraj to become India's batting mainstay once the golden quartet retires, which is not quite so far in the future.

  • Anonymous on December 12, 2007, 20:01 GMT

    starting eleven for india on tour of aus for test should be jaffer, yuvraj, dravid, sachin, sourav, laxman, dhoni, kumble, zaher, irfan, (either rp singh or harbhajan or ishant)

    This combination bring out most potential of all player which india has and has shown good performance.

  • Sriram L on December 10, 2007, 7:27 GMT

    Mukul, You may be a die-hard VVS fan, but as prashant rightly put it, you need n't indulge yourself in blatant Yuvi bashing to justify your point. Please try to maintain some neutrality in your articles. You can praise VVS for his good innings, but don't make it sound as though he did it all on his own. All of VVSs masterpieces in Indian victories were possible because of some very fine support acts. Dhoni played a very mature innings. I would have VVS ahead of Sourav on any day, but not ahead of Yuvi any longer. Laxman for sure does not know how to play with the tail. Yuvraj can atleast make his presence with the last men, count with some big hitting. In current form, i would have the following in this order : Jaffer,Dravid,Laxman,Tendulkar,Ganguly,Yuvraj,Dhoni,Pathan,Kumble,Zaheer,RP Singh

  • Prashant on December 9, 2007, 20:34 GMT

    Mukul Dude, see I commented 2 weeks before on this blog that to praise VVS you do not have to say bad things to Yuvi, and now you see how Yuvi has turned it around. I would love to see your comments or may be one blog entry circling around Yuvi's innings. You had told Yuvi is a tried and tested failure, tell me how does do you feel when you are made to eat your words?

  • raghu on December 9, 2007, 12:01 GMT

    After watching yet another failure innings from karthik today, it reallu amazes me that viru has not been selected for the tour...As I an chappell sums it up in one of his articles, it is not easyto manage and score the way viru did at the MCG against a decent australian attack... Sure Viru may not be in the form he was, but the key word here is form.... Because Viru still hasnt quite reached the stage where age has taken over him, so he still has the potential... To nearly score double hundreds against ausralia in australia proves the potential and the class of this batsman. Whereas karthik still hasnt proved his potential to these standards though he has played a couple of useful innings.... But scoring double hundreds against an attack like australia in australia and that too in such quick time really shows the pontial of the man... As far as form goes, even karthick has failed , so I would rather give the more dangerous of the two batsmen the chance which clearly is Viru...

  • Paul on December 6, 2007, 11:18 GMT

    Shanthan, said it perfectly, this man never gets his due, because he aint too flashy or doesn't have the killer looks!!! Hope Jaffer also doesn't get his fate.

    Yuvi can wait.

  • C K Naidu on December 5, 2007, 7:38 GMT

    No doubt current indian batting line up is a great one, it has sheer class of likes of laxman, sachin, grit and determination of dravis and off late Ganguly to some extent.But according to me what it lacks is flamboyence and dominance, what there used to be with likes of sachin of 90's and Azaharuddin in his prime. it was sad to see laxman fail to dominate in delhi test even if lower down batsman were getting out. Same with Sachin who playes rather sedately off late. Even worse to see Dhoni playing two very sluggish innings with strike rate of not more than 60 when demand of the situation was something else. That is why i believe this is a perfect time for Yuvi to get in the team at number 5 or 6.

  • ambik on December 1, 2007, 16:58 GMT

    Jaff heard you or read your blog ! so now thats one spot done and dusted. Shall we go right to the bottom and find out what do with No. 11 ? He's the other enigma in this team !

  • abu on December 1, 2007, 7:42 GMT

    he is also a good bats man for test only

  • Mat on November 30, 2007, 13:45 GMT

    Similar to Andrew Gray's comments;

    As an Aussie I am stunned to read that Laxman's place in the team is not an absolute certainty. Watching our team bowl to a settled partnership formed by Laxman & Dravid is our worst nightmare! Even Tendulkar isn't as big a worry (although, let's face it, he is still awesome) because lately he seems to lack the concentration needed for a huge score.

    The Aussie cricket-loving public have a lot of respect for Laxman & Dravid. Anand made a comment about Laxman not shielding the tail, but when he's coming in at 6 he has a right to expect that Test cricketers batting at 7, 8 or 9 should be able to bat a bit. Steve Waugh used to back his tailenders when he batted with them and they often delivered the goods. It's 2007. Gone are the days when someone batting at 9 could hold a place in the team by virtue of their bowling alone.

    Now Ganguly.....don't get me started. All I'll say is that the part of me that really wants to see Australia win is hoping that Ganguly is in your test team.

  • Arvind on November 29, 2007, 7:22 GMT

    Neelesh...Totally agree with you.Cricket crowds in India are the worst ! I have heard stories about polythene bags filled with human waste being thrown on people sitting in lower stands.Mukul could have stayed away from that "ManU brutes" comment.

  • Mukund on November 28, 2007, 22:42 GMT

    to people like abeer, mukul and punter. You sit around 4000 miles away from where the Premier league is played out week after week and have the audacity and the ignorance to claim that the crowds that come to watch these games are brutes. You can be jingoistic all you want, but keep it to yourself

  • Neelesh Patni on November 28, 2007, 20:47 GMT

    To Sandy, Well I did a search for Arsenal on google and came up with this crappy piece :). The writer has no right to talk about football if he doesn't know anything about it.

  • Pointer on November 28, 2007, 20:44 GMT

    Punter, I bet you've never been to a football stadium anywhere.

  • amit on November 28, 2007, 19:57 GMT

    Neelesh you have a point, I dont enjoy going to cricket stadiums - the rowdies are just too much for me.

  • Manish on November 28, 2007, 19:55 GMT

    Neelsh, I've been to football games in the UK and I think you are absolutely right. The crowds are not just intelligent, they are well behaved and they can be hilarious too when they chant at the away crowds.

  • Vipul on November 28, 2007, 19:53 GMT

    I follow both cricket and football and I think Neelesh has a very valid point. You seem to have more common sense than the writer and other readers

  • damodar on November 28, 2007, 19:52 GMT

    Neelesh that's beautiful. You are so right.

  • anand on November 28, 2007, 19:50 GMT

    Neelesh, glad someone's brought Mukul's lack of "perspective" so eloquently. Well done Neelesh, I agree that MK should stop talking about football, his comparisons so often with Arsenal just seem so envious.

  • Anil on November 28, 2007, 19:47 GMT

    Neelesh has not just written well, he has a very good point too.

  • Anand on November 28, 2007, 18:21 GMT

    Eversince his return to intl cricket except for that epic 281, VVS played just for himslef. Never he shielded the tail-order and scored for the team. Many times he stood unfinished at high fifties, just because, he just took a single and saved himslef to the other end. He is so consistent in setting such an example, that every one now hails his contribution. Niether he is great nor useful. Must be dropped in way for yuvraj. And regarding Dhoni, being such a batter of no technique and skill to face good bowling, doesn't deserve a place in test team at all. He resembles some paddler while facing real good bowling on live pitches.

  • Chandan on November 28, 2007, 11:34 GMT

    Where are the people who were questioning Ganguly's inclusion in the test XI and wanted Tendulkar to come after Laxman?

    Will they apologise now?

  • sandy on November 28, 2007, 5:42 GMT

    To Neelesh Patni, Please do not talk about sport, you don't know anything about. And if you do not like cricket what are you doing in this blog anyway..

  • Flame in the pitch on November 28, 2007, 5:29 GMT

    This ridiculous Big 3 stuff...Ganguly must be flattered by all of this...imagine putting him in the same pedestal as Sachin and Rahul. He has such a pathetic overseas record as well as a dubious big match situation record.

    If there is a big 3 in India, it is Sachin, Rahul and Anil Kumble. Add Laxman to make it a fantastic 4. Ganguly is in if we only talk about a fab 5.

  • andrew Gray on November 28, 2007, 4:13 GMT

    For what it is worth as an Australian - I think Laxman is at times the best Indian batsmen.Probably lacks consistancy to be as great as Tendulkar & Dravid. His record in Australia is pretty good in comparison to the rest, he needs to be in the team against Australia.

    I believe India are going to need 5 bowlers to beat Australia. I would like to see Pathan opening the batting & 5th bowler, alongside Kumble & Harbajan, + 2 pace bowlers. Sri Lanka didn't get past Gilchrest in the batting order - thats despite having wicket takers like Vaas, Murali, & Malinga.

    I also believe Yurav should be in the line up ahead of Ganguly.

    Also I think winning the 1st SHOULD set India up for a clean sweep over Pakistan.

  • Punter007 on November 28, 2007, 0:10 GMT

    Laxman I hope you read these comments, We all believe you are one of the greatest players and we would like you to score more hundreds for India, thanq

  • Punter007 on November 28, 2007, 0:07 GMT

    Neelesh I totally disagree with you, Looks like you have never been to any stadium in Europe

  • Texas Two Step on November 27, 2007, 20:06 GMT

    Yuvraj is sheer class all the way, his kind come rarely, and are few and far between. He has to be groomed into Test cricket, and those opportunities cannot be , yes you guessed it, few and far between. Ganguly is a has been, he's not consistent and he's lacking on the field. Sure he will have a few good days but thats not reason enough to leave Yuvraj out. The kid has great potential and is captaincy material. His sheer creativity athleticism and enthusiasm is something India will need in the dismal times. Retire the oldies slowly and gracefully, start with Ganguly. Like Pacino said in SOAW.... when the bow breaks some men run and some men stay, Yuvraj is one of those that will stay and steady the ship.

  • Harish on November 27, 2007, 7:08 GMT

    VVS is safe for now...even a bunch of jokers headed by a muppet/puppet will dare not exclude him from an Australian trip.

    Ironically, he is most in danger when Bangladesh or Zimbabwe come calling, for it then becomes time to blood Yuvraj or Gambhir or rehabilitate Sehwag.

  • Abbas on November 27, 2007, 6:29 GMT

    Well If you are VVS Laxman you dont need to prove yourself alteast for the place in the test squad. He is genious and a party to watch. You cant get a better wrist player than him. And as far as selectors are concerned who are they???? They are not even close to the current player class. All of them were a complete inefficient player. They never won so many matches for us. I still remember the way we use to react when we had match againts pakistan. All of them were afraid of their fast bowlers. Now the situation is different. India can beat pak in 3 venues. we can beat them in pak, inda and in neutral place. And the height is that they comment on the great master...sachin. they could not even thought of the game that sachin plays. what say?????

  • Jack Murphy on November 27, 2007, 2:25 GMT

    Great performance team India. We should stick to the same lineup .it has got everything.Just when RP and co have recovered ..they should be given the first choice in fast bowling. Here we have to be level heade with our victory..perhaps we owe some of it to pathetic 'test cricketers' like Shoaib Malik and the dumb pack from Pak as well.

    Jack of all

  • PRAMODH on November 26, 2007, 17:02 GMT

    VVS oozes class, and he belongs to the elite group of batsmen including Vishy, Azhar, Zaheer, and Gower whom you would go miles to watch. It would be a shame if he gets dropped for no good reason rather than to accomodate one day style players. As for the batting position, I think its his own choice that he bats at No.6. I think he should bat wherever he likes so that we can continue to enjoy his batting forever. And for those who dont want to see him in Tests, just bugger off to a one day match or 20-20. Leave us Test cricket fans alone!

  • Mahesh Sharma on November 26, 2007, 16:49 GMT

    I do not know how many times he has to prove his position in team. VVS has a no. of good innings when he saved India. In fact he disever fo ODI also. if any body remember in 2003 in Ihome series againest Newsland in mohali test,india were on follow on, in 2nd inning he hit 100 and draw the game. In WestIndies he hit another 100 and so on. He never play any worldcup. Can any body tell me why. He has good ODI record also.

  • Baiju Prabhakar. Dubai on November 26, 2007, 9:46 GMT

    Time & time again VVS has proved his worth & talent to the world. unfortunaltely, the Only people who doesnt know it are those who selecting team India.He is right there on Top 5 of worlds best. No question about it.Its shame to us Indians that We doesnt recognize his enormus skill. As Adam Gilchrist rightly said we also dont know how such a great batsman gets dropped after making some fantastic scores. Its a reall shame why we question his place in team ..time & time again !

  • anish on November 25, 2007, 21:36 GMT

    Mukul, please eat crow!if Laxman had a 72 then Ganguly had a 46 and 2 wickets!Laxman is in direct competition with Yuvraj and the sooner we admit it, the better it is for everyone. there is a reason why Indian cricket has seen it's golden age with the Big 3.

  • James on November 25, 2007, 20:54 GMT

    Hmmm.. Seems to me that Ganguly is the little difference that is winning India this test match... But yes, follow that Indian Psyche and drop him for Yuvraj... Great thinking Indians!

  • souvik on November 25, 2007, 20:47 GMT

    Any claimants for Ganguly's head still? Remember this comes on the back of the 56 he scored in another 3rd innings of a test match with India down at 12 for 4 and Dravid scoring a "brilliant" 9 of 96 balls! When it has come to batting in the 3rd and 4th innings of a test match (often more crucial than the 1st or second) his average seems to be climbing past Tendulkar and approaching Dravid's. Having said that, I don't think any of Dravid, Tendulkar, Ganguly or Laxman needs to be dropped. However, given Dravid's performance in the last 3 or 4 series, perhaps swapping his and Laxman's place in the order might not be such a bad idea. Maybe the next test at Kolkata would be ideal for that. The last time this switch was made was also in Kolkata, and what happened then, I don't think I need to remind anyone! ca va mon ami Mukul? :-)

  • babar on November 25, 2007, 18:06 GMT

    Well written neelesh, i agree that Mukul should only talk about cricket. Don't even use an analogy - we indians do not know any sport other than cricket

  • Rohit on November 25, 2007, 17:18 GMT

    Why is Karthik in the team? Is he the best opener we have in India? Just look at his first class career and we will know that it has been a mistake. Let me throw out just a few names.

    Sehwag is a better opener than Karthik. Gambhir is a better opener than Karthik. Yuvraj can be a better opener than Karthik. Dravid can be a better opener than Karthik. Ganguly can be a better opener than Karthik.

    So there we have it. Sehwag and Gambhir should be in the team for Australia and not Karthik. For the second test against Pakistan, replace Karthik with Yuvraj. Have Yuvraj or Dravid open the innings with Jaffer. If Dravid opens, VVS or Yuvraj can bat at number three.

  • Sharma on November 25, 2007, 15:44 GMT

    Laxman does not get a chance to play against Bangladesh (where others got to make merry) & hence his 2007 avaerage is little lower. Anyway this unbeaten 72 would have taken care of that

  • Punter007 on November 25, 2007, 13:19 GMT

    VVS Laxman has proven that Selectors are muppets headed by a joker

  • Abeer on November 25, 2007, 12:02 GMT

    I totally agree with Mukul about VVS. He's the kind of player who's necessary in every test side. Even if he does not go on to get a hundred, he's the guy who'll support the 'star' with a patient 50 or 60; he's the guy who'll save a team from a total collapse. He's been insturmental in a lot of Indian victories. Kolkata, Adelaide and Sydeney apart, who got 75 when Ganguly got 144 to sace the Brisbane test? 69 in Mumbai when India got 104 and 205? 71 at Rawalpindi with Dravid? Saved the test at St. Kitts? 73 at Jo'Burg? Ypu, VVS. He should be promoted up the order: His style of play dosen't suit batting with the tail. Ganguly would be a better choice at number 6, with Lax at 5. PS: The comment about the 'brutes' is absolutely spot on.

  • Neelesh Patni on November 25, 2007, 11:38 GMT

    Kesavan has had the idea, probably all his life, that Test cricket is something intellectual and only people with an intellectual bent follow this sport. So when he goes to watch the game at the stadium, he is shocked to see that his fellow cricket followers can stoop to the level of "Man U brutes". What he doesn't realise because he's never been to a football game, is that followers of this great sport, especially in Europe, are well-mannered. Sure they make a lot of noise and don't mind having a beer or two at half-time. But they don't get in the way of their neighbours enjoying the game, they don't disrupt the game because their team loses or abuse players - racially or otherwise. Kesavan just can't seem to let go of the idea that cricket, even in Test format, is just a throw-and-hit sport (as someone rightly pointed out). Well he can hold on to this delusion for as long as he likes, but I suggest he doesn't write about other sports when he doesn't follow them - his ignorance is embarrasing.

  • Prove yourself on November 25, 2007, 5:55 GMT

    VVS laxman plays one innings of 72 and everyone becomes emotional and starts to wonder why he is always under scrutiny? Lets have a look at Laxman's stats over the past few years - 2004 (29y 61d) 12 513 178 32.06 1 2 - - - - 12 0 2005 (30y 61d) 8 508 140 46.18 2 3 - - - - 7 0 2006 (31y 61d) 10 561 100 40.07 1 4 - - - - 8 0 2007 (32y 61d) 4 219 54 36.50 0 2 0 - - 0 5 0

    In the last 4 years his highest average for the season has been 46.18 in an era where batting has become easier and if Laxman is suppossed to be the world class player that he is, he should have performed better than what he has done in the last 4 years to be an automatic choice in the team. As there are players like yuvraj singh, rohit sharma waiting in the wings and we just cannot justify a players' selection basis a double century scored by him 6 years back.

  • Narayan Shankar on November 24, 2007, 19:05 GMT

    Why are we surprised? So what if VVS saves the day yet again? We just have to wait for him to fail once for him to be dropped! And that should not be too difficult to arrange if he has to come in at 6 or 7 and either the tail-enders leave him stranded or he plays too aggressively and gets out.

    But the Selectors will keep him for the Australian tour because they know he is the only Indian batsman who can counter-attack the Australian bowlers on bouncy tracks and the other batsmen will have to play around him if we are to show some mettle, as we did when we went there last.

    If selections are based on recent form, based on the latest 15 Tests played by each player, in order of performance they are Dravid (avr 49.92), Jaffer (41.85), Laxman (40.40), Ganguly (39.36), Karthik (38.19), Tendulkar (37.78), Sehwag (35.64) and Yuvraj (28.75). So while it makes sense for Sehwag and Yuvraj to sit out why was there such a clamour for, and dark hints about, Laxman to be dropped?

    If the arguments are that Yuvraj’s previous Tests were a long time ago, he is currently in terrific form and someone from the middle order must make way for him, should that person be, based on performance order, Tendulkar (pardon my blaspheme) or Ganguly or should it be one of the top two performers, Dravid and Laxman?

    A similar idiosyncrasy can be seen in the ODI selection also. Based on the latest 50 ODIs played by each player, the top performers in order were Tendulkar (46.28), Yuvraj (42.82), Dravid (36.30), Ganguly (34.97) and Sehwag (30.61). But Dravid was dropped and Sehwag recalled!

    Even based on the their relative performance in the latest 25 ODIs played by each player - Tendulkar (48.83), Yuvraj (46.95), Ganguly (38.82), Gambhir (33.95), Dravid (33.72), Sehwag (25.95) and Karthik (23.50) - it is difficult to justify the dropping of Dravid when either Sehwag or Karthik should have sat out.

    Sigh, what is the point! Even Anil Kumble’s appointment as Captain was an after-thought when by rights it should have gone to someone who has failed twice before. And we all know how Mohd Kaif was dropped after each rescue act and he was in and out until he failed.

  • madhu on November 24, 2007, 17:24 GMT

    The pakistan series is unlikely to see any changes to the squads or the playing elevens, unless the openers fail in the first two tests, then one of them (karthik most likely) will give way to either sehwag or gambhir.

    The problem that the selectors face is for the tests against australia. Are 4 bowlers going to be enough to win us the series in Australia? Maybe not, but we do not have the luxury of playing 6 batsmen (including Dhoni).

    While on current form Yuvi deserves a place in the test side ahead of ganguly (not laxman, let's be serious) Ganguly's bowling ability is going to decisively swing it in his favour for the test matches down under.

    Which leaves the 16 member test squad as follows:

    9 Batsmen:

    Jaffer Karthik (Gambhir/Sehwag - Karthik having the edge as a second keeper) Dravid Sachin Laxman Ganguly Yuvraj Badrinath (R.Sharma / M.Tewary) MS Dhoni (W/K)

    Seam Bowlers: Zaheer RP Singh Sreeshanth Munaf Irfan Pathan (Ishant Sharma / Pankaj Singh)

    Spinners: Anil Kumble Harbhajan Singh

    Now if the BCCI will appoint me as a selector, i promise not to post here anymore. Thank You.

  • dipak on November 24, 2007, 17:15 GMT

    lets face it lakshman has classin batting and is a must specialist fielder in the slips and around the batsman.players like sahwag,kartik,gambhir will fall with errors against australin attack. so keep both yuvi who is in great form and vvs laxmanin placeand rotate one of the three mentioned above with existing line up which has got more expirence at test level.ofcourse laxman did not expact indian tail to tumblelike domino effect.they all got out without pressure from the opposition.this is cricket and that is the reason we are all glued to this fantastic contest.

  • SYED on November 24, 2007, 16:12 GMT

    Its high time indian cricketers realise that by under performing in a test match we can bring down the captain. that philosophy should be put to an end by sacking any player. that player could be tendulkar, saurav, dravid or dhoni. when u watch cricket u can see that dhoni throw away his wicket obnoxiously when he could have stayed and win the test match along with Laxman. What is Dhoni upto just playing 20 test matches and does lousy keeping , if you ask me he should be rested fromt the test team and Yuvaraj be given a chance. Ganguly should be rested and and Yuvarj should be given a chance. winning 20/20 does not mean u loose the test supremacy. If Dhoni is going to lead India in test matches they will surely be behind srilanka and bangladesh. So selectors don't don'r do that crazy mistake of giving the mantle to a guy who has played 20 test matches and plays an 20/20 stroke to give away his wicket.

  • Aravind on November 24, 2007, 15:42 GMT

    Indians are indeed extremely emotional! VVS may be the best batsman in the world and may even be the most beautiful batsman to watch in the cricketing history (for some of the Indians at least!) Just tell me how many matches has he won for India? People are talking about him, as if he were a Ponting or a Lara. The plain fact is many a times in his extremely inconsistant career (considering his talent) he has failed to deliver the knock-out punch. Amongst the Indian Batsmen only Dravid (and to some extent Sehwag also!) has done it in his own stubborn way quite often in the recent past. Well, people are talking here of Laxman, as if he had scored 140 n.o. in 135 balls (like Gilchrist has done it a number of times!) and not a slow 72 n.o. (of 135 balls) in spite of knowing the credentials of the Indian tail! He had a great chance to silence his critics today. But he repeated the history by not taking the strike/initiative. No question, he batted perhaps the best amongst the Indians in the first innings. But I thinks Dhoni or Yuvraj will make the difference in the future more often than people like Laxman have done it so far, however less talented they (Dhoni/Yuvraj)may be!

    Coming to Yuvraj: I am sure his temperament is such that given a chance he will do well, not only as a batsman (where he is as talented as anybody in this team!) but also as a bowler or even as a fiedler. Many times in Cricket temperament is even more important than the talent alone! And one can't argue with Yuvraj's temperament!

  • suhaib on November 24, 2007, 14:41 GMT

    yes i agreeeeee with u mukul. laxman mihgt have even made as captain.his class need to india atleast another couple of year.

  • sunny on November 24, 2007, 13:35 GMT

    haines, how can you put Jadeja and Yuvraj in same class? Yuvraj is a genuine match winner and winning us matches left and right,and being rewarded mos and mom all the time(his average in odis in last 2-3 is around 50 which jadeja could only dream of) and is our mvp which jadeja was never. yuvraj is a great young talent and he is gonna be a very successful test player and he hasn't been whinging at all.It's just that his fans are upset..thats all.

  • Khushal Thakur on November 24, 2007, 13:20 GMT

    Much as I am admirer of VVS, I can't help but feel that the insecurities of having to prove himself time and over again, have gotten the better of him and as a result he has begun to play selfishly. I know this is blasphemous to most VVS fans, but that is the hard truth. Bangalore 2005 vs Pakistan - he played for a not-out and didn't shield the tail. He did again in India's last trip to South Africa in the last test. Did it again in England this year. And has now done it again. I know he is unfortunate to be playing at 6 - he should be batting up the order - but playing selfishly to push up your average ("I had an average of 51 in the series of England". Yes you did, VVS, aided with a Not Out Fifty and with the most unmemorable VVS-like innings) is not endearing him to any of the neutrals. I hope he plays more bravely the next time he finds himself with the tail like he did in Kolkata 2001 vs the Aussies where he hit a barrage of boundaries. I hope he comes good.

  • D.P.Patra on November 24, 2007, 13:06 GMT

    PREPARING FOR TESTS IN AUSTRALIA

    T20 proved that youth power could pulverize Aussies. But most experts would say Tests are a different game - where perhaps 'old continues to be gold'. The truth would lie somewhere in between. The right combination would be as follows:- First 11 - Sehwag, Gambhir, Laxman, Tendulkar, Dravid, Yuvraj, Dhoni, Kumble, Zaheer Khan, R.P.Singh, Sreesanth - with Suresh Raina, Manoj Tewari, Munaf Patel and Harbhajan filling the slots from 12 to 15. The logic is that Raina and Manoj have the technique to counter pace and have been scoring tons of runs in our vast improved domestic scene. Both of them could be replacement for either Dravid, Tendulkar if need be. Taking a wicket keeper turned batsman like Dinesh Kartik is a foolish step - in that case Parthiv Patel deserves a look in for he has been the highest scorer in the last domestic season and he has experience of Ausies in 2003. Jaffer is a very iffy player of pace. That is why it would be better to opt for Sehwag and Gambhir (right - left). Sadly - Dada has no place in my team as we have a jam in the middle order - and perhaps we are looking at the future.

    Yours truly

    D.P.Patra

  • arun p on November 24, 2007, 13:02 GMT

    all the morons up there ,digging out laxman,check the stats.find who has the highest average in ODI's against australia,who among the contemporary greats including sachin,lara averages more against the aussies,who has the highest score against one of the greatest bowling attacks of all time.

  • krish on November 24, 2007, 12:54 GMT

    I read a comment by one of our experts some time back, that Australia is the only team which does not change the batting order just to fit in X or Y.So after struggling to get an opening pair for some time,we should not think of a change just to fit in Yuvi.If he has to come in ,it can be only at the cost of one of middle order batsmen.

  • D.P.Patra on November 24, 2007, 12:36 GMT

    VVSLaxman is the unmistakable hero of the most passionate of Cricket lovers cutting across across boundaries. He also happens, over the years, to be the most wronged player by the selectors, at times by his peers and often by impatient fans. Despite always scoring fast enough in Tests to earn the adage of impetuosity; he has to pitiably shoulder the blame that he is slow for one day cricket. Perhaps World Cricket has missed some great action by India's inability to field him in any of the three Cups he was eligible. Most blatant was the exclusion in 2003 at a time when his form was better than that of Mongia, Kaif, Yuvraj and Ganguly. He was perhaps sidelined because he would always have been a threat to whoever was the Captain of the day.

    I strongly felt that he should have been made the Captain ahead of Kumble - for he has about 5 years more of Test Cricket left. It would be fantastic to see him play in 2011 - like Hayden in 2007 - a dream come true ? Lets see.

    Lets hope that he is not sidelined any more now - as the captain doesnt have to see in him a 'usurper' !

  • Vasanth on November 24, 2007, 12:31 GMT

    Looks like Mukul doesn't like Dravid and is going the extra mile to project Laxman ahead of Dravid {Refer to his previous Post}. This post is kind of expected after VVS' show at the Kotla. Cricinfo Editorial needs to review such prejudiced articles before being published online. I do not think any serious cricket follower with adequate knowledge about the game would question laxman's place in the famed Indian Middle Order (The Exception being the Indian Selectors). So, Relax Mukul....

  • THE GALITICOs (wall,master,dada,laxman) on November 24, 2007, 12:01 GMT

    Theirs always massive pressure on the indian middle order, in particular on dravid, and extream pressure on sachin to perform. Every side fears and talks about indias middle order, often never talking about the top order. India has to find "TWO" quality openers, obviously a inform sehwag is one of our best ever finds at the top order, and if gets going, he is indias most lethal batsmen, even more so than sachin. Jaffer i think is pretty good, but kartick i think isnt international quality.

  • Inebriated_scorates on November 24, 2007, 12:01 GMT

    I think Mr. Very Very "Selfish" Laxman played for his average today. Alright, he made 72 and congrats for the splendid straight drives etc etc. But, when Kumble got out, if he played for the team and not for his average, then he should have attempted to shield the tail and go for the big hits. Nope. Mr Very Very selfish had got 72, his place was safe and so it was time to boost his average. graceful Straight drive and elgance do not fetch any more than the allocated four runs and neither do they win you matches - determination and commitment to the team cause does.

    Of course, this is just my opinion based on observation and to be frank to Laxman, I do not think he is the only one who is prone to this servitude towards statistics in the Indian team. But, from all appearances, he let the team down by not even attempting to shield the tail and go for that extra 20-30 runs - and anyone doing that deserves to be banished as far as possible from the Indian dressing room;no matter how elegant their straight drive maybe.

  • anand on November 24, 2007, 11:42 GMT

    your comment about arsenal and manu brutes shows how ignorant you are. You have clearly not been to a Premier League game - maybe not even seen one on TV. The crowds are well-behaved unlike people who throng our cricket stadiums. So Kesavan, stick to what you know.

  • Imran on November 24, 2007, 9:07 GMT

    I am a Pakistan fan, but I admire VVS very much: a treat to watch. India should drop Karthik, play Dravid at 2, Laxman at 3, Yuvraj at 6. That's what they should do, but as Pakistan fan I hope they don't!

  • siddarth raman on November 24, 2007, 8:59 GMT

    Doubting VVs laxmans is stupidity.look at stats over the last couple of years.whenever india has won a test there has been a useful contributions by vvs laxman and when has ganguly played such an innings..he should have dropped way back and why is the board still selecting him.on wht basis??for his bowling.lol..thats the reason why india is not winning as they should be doing.makin the talent sit out.eg.yuvraj,badrinath. and abt shewag's inclusion.after being dropped he hasnt played one good innings out of the many matches he played,tht too against a poor ranji team.he doesnt deserve to be re-called!!

  • haines on November 24, 2007, 7:36 GMT

    i really think that those who are crying for yuvraj ahead of VVS Laxman Sourav Ganguly should watch the test matches and should know the skill sets which are mandatory for the highest level of cricket.Please dont forget that we had a player in Ajay jadeja more or less with the same capabilty ,but should understand that these guy Yuvraj is crying for a test spot with the back up media and the glamour.. it will help only to please his promoters and certainly not the beutiful game which needs skills.. he may be a terrific fielder not a gr8 bat...mind u

  • Kish Kumar on November 24, 2007, 7:30 GMT

    Being a VVS supporter I am disappointed with his batting on the second day. VVS, regardless of the fear of losing his spot, should bat more unselfishly and try to press on when the tail enders bats with him. Having scored his fifty, with Kumble as his partner, he should try to be the major partner. But, instead, we had Kumble making 24 runs when VVS only made some 10 or 15. When the tailenders came, instead of cleverly rotating the strike to keep as much strike as possible, he took the easier path to expose the tail enders, possibily so that he can remain not-out! Not good enough VVS!! Wonderful innings to nail India out of trouble alright. But, failed to take the advantage when there was a golden opportunity. Now, India will, probably, lose this match and what is the use of his wonderful batting on the first day?

  • Does It Matter on November 24, 2007, 7:17 GMT

    Why nobody is talking about our poor bowlers. How many times we failed to got tail out cheaply. India's test record abroad might have been much better if we got tail out cheap. I can recall so many draw matches where we had upper hand but didnt got last 3 or four wickets on time. Good teams donot need always 300+ runs to win test matches even one dayers. I dont recall any match where we defended low total either in ODI or test matches. Is that lack of good captainships or lack of quality bawlers? we debate too much on our batsmen but dont blame our bawlers. We have world class batsment but, you still need to get opposition team out twice to win a test match. We are as always stupid Indians. We try to make something 100% better which is 95% there. But, dont worry about something which is only 30% better. Little bit common sense needed everywhere. If our bawling get even half the batting is, we would have been Australia.

  • Rajesh on November 24, 2007, 6:55 GMT

    I don't think you are doing any favors to Laxman by writing this after one innings of the test series. What if he fails in the next innings and Dravid and Ganguly score good runs. Will you write an apology then? I seriously doubt it.

    You failed to mention the importance of Dhoni's innings. Until Dhoni came to bat, everyone seemed to bat under pressure. It was only after Dhoni arrived, the batting opened up a little. This is where we see the importance of an opener like Sehwag because he has the ability to dominate the bowling.

    Good knock by Laxman but he should have done more today when he was batting with the tail.

  • Deepak on November 24, 2007, 6:52 GMT

    mukul,SRT, RD, SG and VVS deserve their spots in the XI, if VVS can be moved up simply coz he does not handle the tail ver well(doesnt farm the stike) yuvraj will have to wait untill one of the big four fade out or et injured. As for Karthick he has done enough to retain his place and then some..anyone calling for his head r doin it bcoz they just want someone else they like in the team..no matter what. The point is we have more that 6 qualified batsmen at this moment, and no matter which batsmen you keep out, one section of india is gonna complain...

  • Rajesh on November 24, 2007, 6:50 GMT

    VVS is no more VV SPECIAL. He doesn't know to cover numcer7-10 batsmen. He takes single of the first delivery of Tanvir with Zak on the other end. What a height of stupidity !! Being a cricket fan (As any other Indian) I cannot digest the fact that VVS has being doing this for a long time now..ultimately he remains unbeaten in the end ...with a good average !! Does this speak of team effort ?Obviously he fears for Yuvi He is no more special ...rather VV SELFISH LAXMAN

  • jayaraman on November 24, 2007, 6:31 GMT

    Laxman is most respected by the oppositions especially the Aussies, but unfortunately he doesn't command the same kind of respect by our very own selectors.

  • Supratik on November 24, 2007, 6:29 GMT

    It is funny watching cricket side-on, specially since we are used to watching it from behind the wickets these days on the telly. I am a fan of VVS as well but don't belong to the dugout. More on the periphery, lets say! Reason for that Mukul is that VVS didn't graduate to go on to bigger things after the 281 or say even the Aussie tour of 2003-04. In the current age where quality fast bowlers in the world is an endangered species (specially in the 21st century), batsmen across the world are like Robin Hoods piling up runs and centuries by the bucketful. Just look at the likes of Hayden, Ponting (who even have had the luxury of not playing their own quicks and a certain Warne - best available bowling attack) Kallis, Yousuf, etc. On the contrary Indians in the past year and a half have struggled to score even one century. South Africa, England and now Pakistan (7 tests) have produced just one 100 - that too from Kumble. Hence in the current context, not only VVS but Tendulkar, Ganguly and Dravid (who has had a horror run against these sides) have underachieved, though they have played crucial knocks at various stages in these matches. Specifically, VVS because he bats at 6 and his philosophy of letting go the strike be it the first ball of the over doesn't help. It happened at times in South Africa, in England and has happened this morning again as Rahul Nair has mentioned in his comment. Whether it is being selfish/self preservation or not is debatable but a strike rate of 50 is not VVS of yore. That is another striking point against him. Still, I would pay to watch that stop-drive past the bowler anyday.

  • Mahesh on November 24, 2007, 5:53 GMT

    Only we know vvs's value after his retirement.

  • Kshitij on November 24, 2007, 5:24 GMT

    Mukul, you said that its absurd that he bats at no. 6... that he is such a class act. You are so right. it is absurd that he is allowed to bat at all. His crciketing brain borders stupidity at best and selfishness at worst. He should have shielded the tail but he did not...what does he want to show - that he remains unbeated. With people like him you will never have ONE team.

  • abhi on November 24, 2007, 5:22 GMT

    he is good but he played nonsensely today.....he was taking single on every opportunity he got and was giving strike to tailenders......india could have gotten lead of more than 60 runs.....just watch how misbah was playing....... indian bowlers have to do well otherwise be ready to chase around 350..

  • Rahul Nair on November 24, 2007, 5:03 GMT

    He is a class act but he's an underachiever considering his ability. You may argue that he comes lower down so has to bat with the tail more often. Thats part of the job and good cricketers do that very well. Laxman is not good when it comes to batting with the tail. He is very comfortable taking the single of the 1st ball and let the tail-ender face the remaining 5 balls. He simply doesnt care about farming the strike.(selfish?)

  • shakar maharaj on November 24, 2007, 5:02 GMT

    VVS deserves his place just like the others, karthik and jaffer though should be waiting on the wings giving way to VERU and GAMBIR. Yuvi's turn is coming, he will get the opportunity to blaze his trail.

  • Doosra on November 24, 2007, 4:58 GMT

    Hi Mukul, isn't it "in spite"?

  • GANESH on November 24, 2007, 4:58 GMT

    It is very unfortunate that a player like Laxman has been continuously living on the edge - a classic case of what happens if you do not have any sponsors. Indian cricket thrives on sponsora and publicity. Sachin is the over decorated blue eyed boy of Indian cricket. If he scores you go GAGAGA and if he doesn't you wait for another chance. Poor Laxman, he has to prove his credentials every time he goes out to bat - it is like the proverbial damocles sword over his head. If he is selected, Laxman has to prove to remain in the team ... if he is not selected he has to prove to get into the team. Just think of that !!

  • Srini on November 24, 2007, 4:47 GMT

    If place in test team is based on performance when needed then Dravid & Laxman are the only the certainties. If we want to groom youth then drop ganguly and bring in Yuvraj.

  • Chandrasekhar Mukherjee on November 24, 2007, 4:15 GMT

    Lakshman is always an enigma. he has poor consistency. Another thing goes against him is poor fielding( like Ganguly). But in his day he is a batsman of the highest class, others look pale in front of him. Naturally when he is dropped I really feel bad and I guess so also the selectors, in doing so.

  • Logician on November 24, 2007, 4:14 GMT

    So now everyone thinks VVS is the best. What about his fitness with respect to fielding and rapid running between the wickets. Do not get me wrong I think he is fantastic in Test cricket. But to say he is ready for ODI or T20[as some of the comments seem to suggest] would be asking for trouble. I also think that the big three of indian cricket(Dravid,Tendulkar and ganguly) have this tendency to fail spectacularly together and only shine when the pitch is in their favour or, the bowling team are a bunch of minnows in cricket. I personally think chappell's idea of bringing in fresh blood was right and hopefully we shall soon have this pool of batsmen and bowlers that are raring to go and deliver should any of the current "stars" falter and get selfish with the batting on all of us.

  • souvik on November 24, 2007, 4:08 GMT

    Once again Mukul has demonstrated that he's the next best thing in cricket journalism after Peter Roebuck, except when he is writing about VVS Laxman. Mukul, VVS' class has never been in doubt, neither has been his qualifications to be in the Indian XI. But the same is true of a few others: Yuvraj Singh leads the camp, but names like Manoj Tiwary, Suresh Raina and Badrinath cannot and should not be kept out of the side for long. As Ganguly admitted in yesterday's press conference: when he and Dravid were trying to break into the team, Kambli, Manjrekar, and Sidhu were still very much in contention for berths. Consistency, and of course, BCCI backing got them to edge out the other three. Laxman and consistency of late have not been synonymous. Blame it on insecurity, "demotion" to class C contract, whatever. I am not saying that everything has been fair on Laxman: ever since his debut against South Africa, he had to make way for a recovering Ganguly in the next game, despite a match winning 51. That could not have done his confidence a world of good. And the next time he got a chance, he was made to open. No, none of that is fair, but you know what: It was not fair to Virender Sehwag either when he had to open. But he grabbed his opportunity with both hands and hasn't whined when he lost his spot. When (there's no if) he makes a comeback it will be as an opener. That's the steel that needs to show in Laxman's nerves if he's going to dislodge Ganguly from no.5 .

  • Sajin Varghese on November 24, 2007, 3:53 GMT

    I do agree with your appreciations made for VVS & Jaffer. However, promoting VVS to NO.3, i am not interested, where our 'Indian Wall' consistently performing despite his recent low scores. Nevertheless, looking into future, we have to develop one or two players for the test team especially in place of Laxman/Ganguly,where their time is running short.Players like Badrinath,Manoj Tiwari,Parthiv Patel are all automatic selection. Obviously, any of these players should be inducted into the team for Australian Trip, otherwise, next visit, we will have to carry a fresh/inexperienced team. Think and act now onwards...Because, our team should not be fallen like West Indies,New Zealand & Pakistan where all struggling with their batting lineup despite of having wonderful pace strength.

  • Arun on November 24, 2007, 3:46 GMT

    Time and again VVS Laxman has proved that he is the man for crisis when it comes to test cricket.In the last 6 years if there is an automatic choice in the India middle-order after Dravid its VVS.He is known as Very Very Special because of his nack to change a tense situation into a match winning one with elegant stroke play.Surprisingly his position is always under question.If Yuvi has to be selected(he deserves a chance for his cuurent form)it has to be in place of Ganguly.Even though he has made a good comeback,his knocks in both forms have looked like he is playing for his survival which is not healthy for the team.It is unfortunate that a person like VVS bats at No.6. Probably he must bat at 3 followed by Dravid and then by Sachin while playing in sub-continent.While playing in fast tracks he should bat at 4 with Dravid at 3.

  • kottarwala on November 24, 2007, 3:39 GMT

    selectors forgot Sehwag and his 310 runs against Pakistan in Pakistan soil...

  • Rohan Patnaik on November 24, 2007, 3:32 GMT

    I dont need to say anything about Laxmans place on the team

    For Aus Sehwag Gambhir Laxman Dravid Tendulkar Yuvraj Dhoni Pathan Kumble Zaheer RP Singh

  • ankit on November 24, 2007, 3:29 GMT

    good articl! thats how it is in India, there are clearly two kinds of fans in india, some who given a chance would burn banners and throw stones at the players, call them names, only watch the game wen india is winning, and ditch their team wen they lose, why even bother about them, and then there are the ones who love to watch the game not just for the winning and losing but fr the sublime touch of some of the india players, vvs, draavid and the beauty of the game wow hw dravid and vvs have entertained us with their class...the two have been our best players fr the past 5 years in tests, lets not bother about this other Indian fan and even get into this debate...yuvi will get a chance of course and pretty soon as well

  • Mohan Swain on November 24, 2007, 3:29 GMT

    All those who are posting here should keep in mind there is no need to bash Ganguly and Tendulkar to praise VVS.Let's praise VVS for his deeds on a cricket field but to say that Sachin should be demoted and all makes no sense.Let's pray for the little man to carry on as he has been doing for a couple of years more.Every time Team fails we check if Sachin failed or not.'cause if he failed we found the reason for our failure.That alone says enough.So let's celebrate the twilight years of what has been the greatest sporting career ever scripted in the Indian sporting annals.

  • maruti on November 24, 2007, 3:24 GMT

    VVS laxman rocks. He deserves a place consistently ahead of Yuvi, Ganguly, Kartik an Jaffer.

  • dakshin on November 24, 2007, 3:13 GMT

    VVS_Very Very special Laxman., time and gaian we have seen and appreciated vintage cricket from middleorder batsmen like GR Viswanath,Azaruddhin and others and there are any more like Md.Yousuf not flamboyant cricket but Test cricket played with style,skills and poise.We are going to see enough of Yuvi in 20-20 and onedayers, and I sincerely feel you should make way for players like laxman in test cricket.This is his turf and I am sure he will convince the public that watching him will give more pleasure than slam bang stuff in onedayers.

  • vinay on November 24, 2007, 3:09 GMT

    Test cricket is played at lesser frequency than one day. Our memory is very short indeed. We remember recent scores n records. But in deep of our mind Laxman, Kumbale, Wasim and Aksh chopra (who made ball old in Pak, Aus, SA so that our middle order was not exposed to it)are always there as a test heroes.

  • Bala Yugandar on November 24, 2007, 3:03 GMT

    It's heartwarming to see so many staunch supporters of VVS, finally voicing thier love and affection for the truly special VVS. I cannot thank Mukul enough for taking up his cause and articulating it so brilliantly ever so often much like VVS sublime batting. I wonder when would selectors, biased media and the television bred fans -who are forever caught in swish,bang,wallop- realise the value of dear Lachi(in Hyd lingo). He's being criticized for playing only THAT knock '281' and forever drawing mileage!!! How preposterous....Indian cricket will be forever in debt of VVS for playing that knock and truly resurrecting it. Until that time in that series India looked a mere pretender and all Ganguly aggressive talk was basically trash! It was Laxman who in Calcutta test and not to forget in the chennai test ensured India won and gained the confidence to be a formidable team if not completely the worldbeaters!

    I dearly wish he ignores all crap thrown his way and goes on in the vein of Steve Waugh to play 150+ tests scoring many more beautiful runs!!!

    Cheers to Laxman n India!

  • S.N. IYER on November 24, 2007, 3:02 GMT

    Yuvraj should also be in the team along with Laxman. The man to be dropped (not rested) is Ganguly.He never sems to learn. He always gets out in the same way and every bowler knows it. His fielding is awful.For a change he bowled well which is rare.Yuvaraj in the Team gives an added advantage of a good fielder.

  • Sadagopan V on November 24, 2007, 3:00 GMT

    Such eulogy for an international player scoring a fifty not out! Great indeed is the praise.

  • Zaid Sheikh on November 24, 2007, 2:46 GMT

    VVS lAXMAN is defintely a tremedous batsman who knows how to play all stroke. In my opinion, one day teams and test teams should be same except Yuvraj for one-days and Laxman for tests. A good batting line up would be Jaffer Karthik Tendulkar dRAVID gANGULY lAXMAN DHONI kUMBLE zAHEER PATEL hARBAJAN

  • aman sharma on November 24, 2007, 2:31 GMT

    and Manjoy you are talking utter crap now. Ganguly taking wickets is imp now?...Well news flash...Yuvraj can too and his fielding has a big edge over Ganguly.

  • aman sharma on November 24, 2007, 2:30 GMT

    Manoj, you cant be any morw wrong. Yuvraj has scored 357 in cooch berar trophy....so go check the stats b4 u write lies.

  • Dravid Rahul on November 24, 2007, 2:23 GMT

    I think Dravid is the one who should be left out. Sachin, Laxman, Yuvraj, Dhoni (above all) and even Sehwag represent a more aggressive spirit. Laxman is not just good for crises, he has done well when asked to bring the game a notch up. Dravid is without doubt a great batsman but, like Kallis, he looks good at the end of the day when looking at the scorecard, not when a mental battle is being fought in the middle. Just for the sake of making the 5-day game more watchable, Dravid should be shown the door and Sehwag should be brought back. How about this line-up: Karthik & Jaffer to open, Sehwag, Sachin, Laxman, Dhoni, Kumble, Zaheer, Bajji, RP, Sreesanth (or Munaf, depending on who's fit). That would be a team that can beat Aussies in their own backyards. And before you try to remind me of the runs that Dravid scored last time, well, what about all the other comments about how past performances should not matter?

  • voleti venkateswara rao on November 24, 2007, 2:16 GMT

    VVS has proved again. But how many times he has to prove himself. But at least now people should stop talking about laxmans place in the team. Time again VVS is proving himself. At least now under Kumble VVS will get his due respect for his services to Indian cricket. It is very sad we have not recognised his talent but teams like Australia got high regard for him. It is high time to put Laxman as the main stay of our Batting

  • deep on November 24, 2007, 2:13 GMT

    Why is it Laxman or Yuvraj? I say drop Sehwag, have Dravid open with Jaffer or Gambir and fit YS and VVSL in the middle order.

  • Jayavelan on November 24, 2007, 2:10 GMT

    Laxman, Laxman he may be classic in one innings and next innings he will play worst shot chasing oustide the wicket like a man in hurrry to cool his feet and making everybody feel him as fragile as he is as elegant. An enigma to even himself how can he justify himself to the selectors to have faith.

  • Surya on November 24, 2007, 1:57 GMT

    (01) Tyrannosaurus Rex - extinct 65 million years ago (02) Irish Deer: the largest deer that ever lived - extinct about 7,700 years ago (03) Cave Lion: one of the largest lions ever - extinct 2,000 years ago (04) Aurochs: a very large type of cattle - extinct since 1627 (05) Dodo: the archetype of extinct species - extinct since late 17th century (06) Steller's Sea Cow: the defenseless beast - extinct since 1768 (07) Great Auk: largest of all auks - extinct since 1844 (08) Quagga: half zebra, half horse - extinct since 1883 (09) Thylacine: the Tasmanian Tiger - extinct since 1936 (10) Caspian Tiger: the third largest - extinct since 1970 (11) Vangipurappu Venkata Sai Laxman: 6 one day hundreds with 4 against Australia with 2 in Australia. 3 of his hundreds abroad being match winning knocks - extinct from One Dayers 2007 (12) Very Very Special Laxman: Declared Endangered Species - Please save and support him. Thanks Mukul. Three Cheers.

  • Savi on November 24, 2007, 1:43 GMT

    VVS deserves to have a cemented spot in the test team as he has proven himself to be reliable over and over again. It's bad luck that Yuvi hasn't been included - he's such a great player but India's got too many choices at the moment. I think there should be a rotation of players to give everyone who's proved themselves a chance.

  • Manoj on November 24, 2007, 1:41 GMT

    VVS should not be compared with Yuvi especially in non-limited overs matches.Those who comapre the averages of vvs and yuvi for a specific number of test matches should also see the number of big scores or scores in all forms of non-limited overs cricket.You will find yuvi's highest score is only 208 (perhaps the only time he has crossed 150 i suppose),but VVS's highest score is 353 and he has crossed 150 on numerous occassions.In test cricket where crease occupation is most important VVS stands apart.Unfortunately for Yuvi,considering his current form he may not find a place in the team even in place of Ganguly as Ganguly is capable of taking crucial wickets as he is nippy.The one chance yuvi has in this series is if Dhoni is injured and cannot play.

  • dadamoni on November 24, 2007, 1:21 GMT

    Totally agree with you. Laxman deserves to be a certainty for the tests, along with Dravid and Tendulkar. The best Indian 11 in my view is 1.Jaffer 2.Sehwag 3.Dravid 4.Tendulkar 5.Laxman 6.Yuvraj 7.Dhoni 8.Kumble 9.Harbajan 10.Zaheer 11.Sreesanth/RP/Pathan/Munaf(in that order if they are fit) I dont know what hold Dinesh Kartik has in the selection process, but he seems to be pushed ahead of all the others. When we are against good teams, we need a good regular opener - which Kartik is not. If we do require to carry along a second wicketkeeper who can open, the choice should be Parthiv Patel who has more experience in opening. Othewise, how can Kartik compare with others like Gambhir, Sehwag, or even Akash Chopra. Secondly why is Ganguly considered ahead of Yuvraj? Even though some may argue that Yuvraj is not exactly made for tests, but on current form, you can expect him to crack a fifty every time he goes out to bat, and while crease occupation is important in tests, its only runs which win matches. So, give dada a grand farewell (he can be a great commentrator), and let Dinesh Kartik get some valuable experience at the domestic level, and select our best 11.

  • Raju on November 24, 2007, 1:20 GMT

    To Survive in Indian cricket, It's not just class and talent that are looked at. There are few other parameters that need to make the gtade. To be an "ace" you got to have the following - f"ace" value and pl"ace" value, Take the sports personalities here - be it Yuvraj or Dhoni or Sachin or Dravid or Ganguly or Ravi Shastri - they all have the f"ace" value. And are heroes in peoples hearts. Now please consider this section of players - Amarnath or Kumble or Laxman or Mohd Kaif or Robin Singh - they dont have any f"ace" value and automatically no global brands associated with them and hence no value what so ever in the electronic media nor print media and neiter with BCCI. The way BCCI feels about them is "Arre tumhe hum khilare, wohi bahuth hai". BCCI got to have guts or something below their abdomen to touch a player from Bombay or North India or Bengal or Karnataka. To deal with Hyderabad, its child's play for them. Because you drop Ganguly, you will find complete Kolkatta coming to stand still or every news reporter covering the event. Now you drop Laxman from the team, the guy next door to Laxman there himself is not bothered and all activities in Hyderabad would pass on as they are. I am not sure if Hyderabadis are becoming a civilized lot or have completely lost their voice. In such a stuation, we find Mukul Kesavan coming up with not one but couple of articles on Laxman. Thanks MK.

  • Rishi on November 24, 2007, 1:19 GMT

    U said it ... if Yuvi was that good, then he would have forced his way in... Laxman on song is one of the best sights in Indian cricket!

  • aman sharma on November 24, 2007, 1:16 GMT

    Dr Anand, Yuvraj just has had 2 bad test series and He is certainly more talented than Ganguly in all aspects. He should replace immediately since Ganguly only averages 17 in his last 6 tests against Pak. He is scared of facing shoaib and company.

  • aman sharma on November 24, 2007, 1:14 GMT

    I think Yuvraj should replace Ganguly if he fails in second innings too....Too good a talent wasted outside by not playing.

    and stop defaming Yuvraj just cuz laxman scored a 50..newsflash..yuvraj scored 4 in a row in the last series even though it was just odis.

  • vinod on November 24, 2007, 1:06 GMT

    i also think the same way like others, laxman is not getting more opportuinity to prove himself.i still remember the series win over pakistan and aussie only bse of him. i would like to see him playing against aussie here. the only team can stop aus from this winning stream is india, with laxman on top..lets see what our dumd selectors doing...definitely i will b there for the match, if he plays....

  • Maheshwar Reddy on November 24, 2007, 1:05 GMT

    VERY..VERY..SPECIAL LAXMAN....THIS NAME BRINGS SHIVERS IN WORLD CHAMPIONS MINDS....THAT IS THE SPECIALITY OF LAXMAN.... HE IS THE WORLD BEATER...WHO EVEN BEATS THE MIGHTY AUSTRALIAN.. WHOEVER PLAYS BEST CRICKET AGAINST AUSTRALIA IS THE GREATEST PLAYER.... THATS VVS..LAXMAN..

  • vijay on November 24, 2007, 1:01 GMT

    am a die hard fan of vvs(being a hyderabadi is one other reason)...i wonder why everytime vvs is on line...ganguly has done nothing credulous to deserve a place...bring yuvi in his place if people are so interested...but vvs is not the man to be replaced with yuvi...vvs is a class apart...ask steve waugh and he will say who torments the aussies most...and with the downunder trip next,its upto kumble n team management make vvs feel more secure with his place in the team so that he can play more freely....

  • chetan on November 24, 2007, 0:42 GMT

    I agree with Mukul as far as Laxman's talent is concerned. However, talent is not his fault, god has dumped it on him. What I am concerned about is - every time Laxman's place in the side is in danger, we get to see 1 / 2 good performances & then suddenly - out of form ! Every time his backers talk about him, they can only remind the world about 281 Laxman scored against Australia in 2001 ! I would just like to ask these jokers one question - how long would you pay salary to a guy who has worked well for you 5 / 6 years ago ? Gentlemen, in the real world - you get pension not salary for past performances & pension is paid to retirees only. If Laxman wants to be part of the Indian team, he has to start scoring runs for India more often & add his effort to the god-given talent.

  • SR GOPAL on November 24, 2007, 0:35 GMT

    I donot think that India has produced a more graceful batsman than VVS.hE IS CONSISTENT,PURPSEFUL AND VERY VERY CONFIDENT.hE SHOULD NEVER BECOME A CAPTAIN-THOUGH HEAVEN KNOWS HE DESERVES IT--BECAUSE HE MAY LOSE HIS WONDERFUL PROWESS DUE TO THE PULLS ANS PRESSURES OF CAPTAINCY.hE SHOULD BAT AT ANY NO BET 3 AND 5.

  • Dattaprasanna on November 24, 2007, 0:20 GMT

    Laxman is a wonderful batsman. He and Dhoni got in when Shoaib's spell was over and the wicket had lost most of it's moisture. Lax & Dhoni certainly played mature innings. However, we should not overrate their batting.

    We should Gambhir in for Kathik and Yuvi for Ganguly. Like many others I don't understand why VVS's place is questioned all the time. May be because he doesn't pretend to bowl and just tries to do his best with the bat as he is suppose to.

  • Marcus on November 24, 2007, 0:04 GMT

    I've always liked Laxman, and I'm surprised that he hasn't played more often.

    Regarding Jaffer, he had an ordinary series in England. If he has an ordinary series against Pakistan, then I think Sehwag needs to be brought in against Australia pronto. Sehwag has a good record against us, and as Ian Chappell pointed out, he's one of the few who will take the fight to the Australian quicks. Seeing him take on the new, improved Brett Lee will be an interesting battle. Finally, the greatest opening partnerships in history have been ones of contrast- think Hobbs and Sutcliffe, Greenidge and Haynes, Taylor and Slater, Hayden and Langer. Sehwag did very well in partenrship with the more defensive Aakash Chopra four years ago, and I believe that that a Sehwag-Karthik combination could again be successful.

  • Aumkar Gholap on November 24, 2007, 0:03 GMT

    Well said sir!! There are few entities in world which remain very very special...A R Rehman's music, Lata's voice, Salim-Javed's scripts, Manmohan-Chidambaram-Montek's financial talent, Gandhi's nonviolence, Kumble's integrity and Laxman's artistic, wristy batting. I cannot stop raving about this hyderabadi tall batsman who defines the word strokeplay in his own way. I still feel SG should open inplace of Karthick and Yuvi shud be at no.6 with V V S at no. 5. Take a bow V V S (not for today's performance but in general)

  • Sidi on November 24, 2007, 0:02 GMT

    Mukul, putting cricket and VVS aside for a moment. I'd like to compliment the manner if which you express yourself through your words. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your short blurb about VVS, and look forward to picking up your book too.

    Best Regards, Sidi.

  • Praveen J on November 23, 2007, 23:57 GMT

    I can see people having doubts in their minds about Laxman's inclusion to the squad going to Australia. Ask any aussie and you will immediately know they are more concerned about Laxman's wicket than many others... he is a special act and has always been like that... Hope he stays out there today and take India to a winning position...

  • adrian on November 23, 2007, 23:29 GMT

    You got to drink Gandipet's pani to bat like VVS & Azhar

  • guru on November 23, 2007, 23:21 GMT

    laxman does not get his due recognition is due to fact he is not in the "cool endorsement" world :) its not matter of if laxman or anyone should take his place for granted ..its a issue of form and potential...ganguly should be made to open with jaffer , bring the left- right combination and also gets yuvi in ..and gets laxman to step up a spot in the batting order...just imagine both laxman and yuvi in full flow ....full view of elegance and power :)

  • Mohan on November 23, 2007, 23:14 GMT

    VVS - time and again this man plays gem of innings and yet he will be under scanner for the next match. not sure why though ? he should bat quite higher than saurav for sure, let alone at no.3 as he scores quickly than rahul to keep the momentum going. but alas its Indian cricket, anything can happen..but not what should really happen..

  • yogesh on November 23, 2007, 23:13 GMT

    Laxman is definetly Indias best bat after Dravid. Given a chance he could easily best ODI player as well, because of his ability to place the ball in the leg side. I have not seen a better technician than Laxman. He should be given a chance to continuously play at number three and Dravid at Number four.

  • DR CMM SUNDARAM MD MRCP MBA on November 23, 2007, 23:10 GMT

    VVS Laxman once again showed his class.Expert(?)selectors take a note.You no longre can keep him away.Gentle un asuming sportsman who does not ask his fans to perform poojas and homas in burrialgrounds for a come back.His poise and bat does it all.Hi vengsarkar sorry you cant write a column about VVS Laxmans form or fitness.I am more concerned about yor fitness as a selector.It is the unsupported Southern boys that are playing well.Well done VVS.Good luck for a ton.

  • Ritvik Shekhar on November 23, 2007, 23:08 GMT

    Laxman surely is a class act and the wise men should not even think of dropping him. Yuv has been in great form and it is totally unfair to deny him a chance in the test team. It makes complete sense to drop Saurav Ganguly who refuses to cross 40 in any of his innings & is a fielding burden.

  • Praveen J on November 23, 2007, 23:03 GMT

    Mukul: You are absolutely right. I can say am the 1st fan of VVS and then yours. VVS is always a special treat to watch. He never let bowler feel that they are hardly hit.But he still gets those boundaries..I can't still forget those bounderies of his rist on mid on and staright down the wicket...oho!!!! I enjoyed each and every miute whole night last night in the US. There was a clear contrast between his batting and Dhoni's. GO LAXMAN!!! GO FOR A BIG HUNDRED...From now, if any selector or cricket ignorants talk about dropping him , I don't know what I will do to them....As far as yuvi is concerned, I can't say anything because, we indians always lift those guys who are in form in current, but don't care for the past or for a class...Yuvi is just a new born baby in the test cricket...he is faaaaaar away from a place in test ..that too in place VVS..come on guys don't even talk about it...If he is so need to be in the team..let's play in place of Ganguly... Now If Laxman and Dravid are punished not to be in the ODI why not yuvi wait( no one is saying you are not in form) for his test spot. As far as Mukul's comment from Delhi crowd, one thing I want to say is if he comes to Hyderabad, you will see same comments for in the support of yuvi but not VVS.Because the irony is Laxman is never a player hits a ball in the air to get ppl attention. See Sachin, Dhoni and Yuvi..they all play shots in the air...anyone hits the ball in the air...in India they are GODs..I don't understand that logic at all....Guys.please see and enjoy the pure cricket from VVS....PLEASE DO NOT descriminate guys....if you really enjoy cricket...the cricket he plays is the real one...along with Dravid....thats it...

    Again, GO MUKUL...GO LAXMAN..GO INDIA...

  • john on November 23, 2007, 22:50 GMT

    As an Australian, you indians have no idea when it comes to cricket. Which is why, even though you have a good team, you will always lose against Australia. You want to leave Ganguly out of the team at every instance yet without him you would have lost the last test series in Australia. You need players like him to keep up mentally with Australia. In a way though it would be good if he wasnt in the team as that will mean we will get a 4 - 0 whitewash!

  • Sunny on November 23, 2007, 22:24 GMT

    Yuvraj deserves a place in the test side. Especially since its ridiculous that Karthik and Ganguly are still in it.

  • Shyam on November 23, 2007, 22:24 GMT

    Yuvi is a good batsman. But he has not lived upto the expectations in the small set of opportunities offered to him in tests. I am sure he is more matured now than before but needs to wait a little more...may be Ganguly or Sachin need to retire gracefully..

    On the other hand, VVS had got the rough end always...in his prime, Kambli et al were given opportunities to score against teams like Zimbabwe and VVS got to play against WI etc. and still he delivered.

    Yesterday I was reading one of the stats in cricinfo and noticed that the first four ODI (please read...1 day) hundreds for VVS had been against Australia, the best team in the world. And he gets dropped for 2003 world cup and he is not even in ODI team now...and now, talks of dropping him for tests...come on..

    VVS at no. 3 could be a better bet for India. Being a fluent player, he could play freely at 3, where he would be less in the "dig out" situation than when he comes in at 5 or 6. The order could be Openers (I leave it to others as to who they could be), followed by Laxman, Sachin and Dravid. This would ensure that we have a burden free VVS at 3 and a very capable wall at 5, in case things turn out to be bad.

  • Sriram on November 23, 2007, 22:19 GMT

    Hi Mukul, Very well written indeed. It's really strange, I feel, that in a country like India where every street and every village has such keen followers of the game-we have huge chunk of people who don't recognise the class that VVS is. How many times he has to prove himself? How many times did he manage to score unbeaten half centuries with the dwindling Indian tail. It's 'utter rubbish' to even get a thought of sacking a player who had averaged more than 50 in the previous tour. Laxman is one of the pillars in Indian Test batting attack.

  • Nirmal on November 23, 2007, 22:10 GMT

    Its no use having Ganguly at 6. He cant bat with the tail.

  • Cricket Master on November 23, 2007, 22:03 GMT

    What about Uthappa?

  • NM on November 23, 2007, 21:57 GMT

    Mukul, Once again a very nice article. I don't understand why VVS has to keep proving himslf. Why don't they say that Ganguly has to prove himselg. VVS is better batsman against pace, while for all the records in ODi Gaguly still is a suspect against good pace bowling. I know Yuvraj is good batsman, but still in VVS ccategory.In test or even in ODi where he has to face good pace bowling, he struggles. Mostly caught in slips. Hopefully VVS scores big tomorrow to shut some of the Yuvraj and Gangu fans.

  • Shyam on November 23, 2007, 21:56 GMT

    Ganguly is the 'white elephant' and must go. Viru or Yuvi should be in. It is the open secret that Ganguly is in the team beacuse of Bengali pressure on UPA Government. Unfortunately this is what we have to bare with. Today, the board can afford to fire Sachin but not Ganguly. Coming to the game.... all we can do is to hope and wish the team wins.

  • Bhaskar R Vegesna on November 23, 2007, 21:45 GMT

    great job Mukul! India cannot miss VVS in tests at any case as I Yuvi's body language(boom boom bang bang) doesnt really suit Test Cricket.As Kumble said he has to wait for his chance patiently.

  • Valentino Rossi on November 23, 2007, 21:32 GMT

    Yuvraj needs to be picked at least for the next test.He is in top form with the bat and is a very good fielder as well.Plus he can bowl his offies if required.The only problem-who does he replace?

  • Nibs on November 23, 2007, 21:21 GMT

    You need a player in your team who is capable of great things in tough situations. Laxman has done this on numerous occasions. When he is on fire, he is India's number 3. Dravid should be 4. I would love to see Tendulkar hit centuries like Kallis is at the moment but it won't happen for him now. His ego should not get in the way of the team goal. If he drops down and comes in at 270-4 rather than get out and put is team in a spot of bother at 73-3, then management should consider it.

  • Ravi on November 23, 2007, 21:14 GMT

    Yes...Mukul... your words for V V S is delight to read.. He is still at his best, everytime any series start, his place is always question in team but he proved over many times should be automatically choice in team India.. V V S is very modest player, he always proves his class and place in team whenever team require, He is the best to world best Team and foreign grounds, We see more of his knock in coming seasons, We praise Mukul to make point to highlight that along with Sachin and Rahul there are some good player in team India.

  • vinodh on November 23, 2007, 21:10 GMT

    who said laxman's place is always under scrutiny, its just the media which portrays like that, all our captains and the selection commitee have always reposed their faith on this stylish hydarbadi again and again, though yuvi was in excellent form all through this season, we must preserve laxman as much as we can, he is truly a legend when it comes to style and timing, the good thing about vvs is, its not only his shots which holds the superb timing, its also his innings which always holds that great timings, most of his innings would have come under tougher attacks, he is really special.

  • Rajan Sharma on November 23, 2007, 21:07 GMT

    Yessir! Laxman proves himself once again, but our selectors will still not put him down as an automatic choice for the Australia tour. Jaffer is over rated at the international level. He has the skills no dout, but mentally he just has not proved himself at the Test level.

    Yuvraj and Gambhir should be playing in the Test side at the expense of Jaffer and Karthik

  • Anil on November 23, 2007, 21:05 GMT

    Mukul, can't believe your ignorance. I must be the only one here who has been to both an Arsenal (& Man U game) - years ago - and to cricket matches in India. Your comment about being like an Arsenal fan among "Manu maniacs" is so far from the truth - it can only come from someone who's just not watched football. I can say with confidence that the football crowds are so much more polite, intelligent than the "brutes" in our cricket grounds

  • ram on November 23, 2007, 21:03 GMT

    guys give credit to the selectors for picking a test team based on test cricket form. it takes lot of guts not to be overwhelmed by recent 20-20 or one day cricket form.best of luck to the indian team. the deliveries that got dravid and ganguly were absolute gems, jaffers flick off the legs, dravids covedrive and laxmans ondrive- good test cricket overall.

  • ravi on November 23, 2007, 21:03 GMT

    laxman in full flow is one of the best sights in world cricket.but certainly your comments on yuvi are out of place,mukul.dat he can never become a great test batsman based on his average of 33 is ridiculous.

  • Mr. Siriaj Una Durani on November 23, 2007, 20:59 GMT

    I belive that India should put Yuvi on at number 5. As a specalist batsmen myself i think india should put Jaffer and Karthik as the opening two, followed by of course the wall Dravid, Sachin, Laxman, Yuvi, Dhoni, Kumble, Khan, Harbhijan and then Patel. Ofcourse depending on the match situation the orde of batting can change. Ganguly needs to be excused as he carrer is almost over and India need to focus on the future. With Yuvi fielding will become and better and he wll add a bit of spice to the batting, not to forget he can bowl. But as a bangladeshy fan myself this is just my opinion. So anyway i hope India win becuase really i think they are better then any team in the world if they just focus, Pakisatan need to improve themselves.

  • Mr. Siriaj Una Durani on November 23, 2007, 20:58 GMT

    I belive that India should put Yuvi on at number 5. As a specalist batsmen myself i think india should put Jaffer and Karthik as the opening two, followed by of course the wall Dravid, Sachin, Laxman, Yuvi, Dhoni, Kumble, Khan, Harbhijan and then Patel. Ofcourse depending on the match situation the orde of batting can change. Ganguly needs to be excused as he carrer is almost over and India need to focus on the future. With Yuvi fielding will become and better and he wll add a bit of spice to the batting, not to forget he can bowl. But as a bangladeshy fan myself this is just my opinion. So anyway i hope India win becuase really i think they are better then any team in the world if they just focus, Pakisatan need to improve themselves.

  • Sam on November 23, 2007, 20:53 GMT

    In response to Vishal's query- "Can someone tell me why Ganguly is in this team?" Yes- because he was the most consistent batsman in the ecently concluded Test Series in England. Why not ask why Dinesh Karthik is in the team? The same people who always have a problem with Dravid or Laxman being dropped are always the ones who want Ganguly dropped even after a successful series. Ganguly was much better than Dravid in both England and South Africa- should we consider dropping Dravid if he does not get a fifty in this match? Ridiculuos.

  • sandeep , melbourne on November 23, 2007, 20:51 GMT

    obsuletly agree, laxman should be automaticselection for tests, i repalce ganguly with yuvi, and jaffer with viru.. as i got tickets for boxingday cricket (mel), want i want from my team is a goodcricket , otherwise my aussie freinds killme. ONE MORE THING, CAN ANYONE PASS THIS TO DHONHI ( WHENEVER SOMEONE THROWING THE BALL TO WKTS HE IS NOT STANDNING AT WKTS, HE IS TAKING LIKE 2 MTS AWAY FROM THE WKT)

  • Gaurav on November 23, 2007, 20:43 GMT

    I think that Laxman and Yuvraj are both great players. I think Dinesh Karthik needs to be out of the team and be replaced by sehwag. I dont think that Karthik is good enough (yet) to face Australia in their own back yard. Sehwag has been there and done it. i dont know why hes not playing against pakistan as he averages near 100 against them. As for Yuvi, he deserves to play. But im not sure if Ganguly deserves to be out of the team because he is a great player. I think Yuvi should probably wait until the one of the three batsmen (dravid, ganguly n sachin) would retire.

  • $mooth on November 23, 2007, 20:43 GMT

    There is just one sentence enough to describe brilliance of laxman During last ashes series.. Geoffrey Boycott said one thing to his fellow commentator "have you seen battle between shane warne and VVS laxman at kolkatta in 2001. it was most outstanding battles ever fought on cricket field. Shane Warne was bowling round the wicket on 4th day , pitching the ball in rough , his leg breaks turning miles .. at other hand.. laxman was somehow managing to get his right foot at pitch of the ball and he would drive it through mid on.. picking it from off stump"

    Bring yuvraj in but in place of ganguly.... and even i m not convinced with Dinesh karthik.. i d rather have Akash chopra or Virendra sehwag as opener. in any case both are better.

    Nice article mukul.. its good to see someone like me.. someone who enjoys backfoot punch of sachin more than cracker six of yuvraj, someone who enjoys glorious flick of the pads by dravid or laxman .. rather than sheer blasts of young players.

    At some test match.. shane warne was bowling.. ravi shahstri was the commentator. Warne was bowling over the stumps.. laxman kinda rushed at front foot.. and ball was leg stump.. he quickly moved on back foot and gloriously picked up that ball from offstump and drove it through mid on .. the way he managed was very awesome.

    and Ravi shashtri commented "it would take me 25 more years to see any english player playing such stroke"

    and finally ending it with a Steve waugh quote.. available here on cricinfo 2004 quote collection

    "If you get Dravid, great. If you get Sachin, brilliant. If you get Laxman, it's a miracle." Brett Lee repeats the words of wisdom of his former captain, Steve Waugh

    heh wrote so long... pppl love anecdotes..

  • Sreeram on November 23, 2007, 20:39 GMT

    Come on VVS! Weave your magic tomorrow by scoring a ton and save India from the blushes. My mind says India will take 107 runs lead! If India has to win test matches consistently they should have either 5 bowlers(3 seamers and 2spinners - Zaheer, Sreesanth, Irfan, Kumble & Harbhajan) or 4 bowlers (3 seamers & 1 spinner. They should adopt the former policy against Australia as bowlers win matches for us. My Indian team for test matches(play in that order):

    Karthik, Yuvraj/Jaffer, Dravid, Laxman, Sachin, Dhoni, Pathan, Kumble, Harbhajan, Zaheer, Sreesanth.

    There is no place for Ganguly in this team as his fielding is getting worser by the day! Sachin should bat after VVS at no.5, as his dismissal always creates pressure on our middle order.

  • Visvesh on November 23, 2007, 20:36 GMT

    VVS played some gorgeous on drives and straight drives and just stood at the crease, so did the fielders rooted to their spots, and the spectators speechless, it was poetic, this was VVS at his very best driving like a BMW automatic

  • GMAN on November 23, 2007, 20:33 GMT

    Yes, Laxman is a very good test player. At any cause Yuvi must be in the playing 11 (20/20, ODI, TEST, etc) with his current excellent form. We want results in test (positive) cricket. We believe that Yuvi can give that. We do not like to see the dead rubber test matches anymore. Past is past. You have to look forward and develop your stands up as Aussies. Batsman must be confident while playing the shots as Dhoni & Yuvi. Test is not the meaning when you get the full toss and play straight back defensive to bowler. As a batsman you must know how to dispatch the bad balls. Indian team must improve in this static. The selectors and coach must give the chances to prove their talent and grew their confidence which can only dispatch the work ethics of teams as Aussies and rest.

    Another thing is we must play with one attacking batsman (like Shewag when he was in form - still his test record is good). You can not contain with defense in Aussi pitches. We want defensive stroke makers like Jaffer, Karthick, Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman but not 5 of them. It can be 3. You must select the wicket taking bowlers who can defend his bating with top order batsman like Sami. We do not want any of our batsmen to play like Sami. Then the things will change totally for the Team India. Then you can see the consistency in Indian Test Cricket.

    My Team India for test matches:

    1. Shewag (Off Spinner) / Gambir / Ganguly (Seam Medium) 2. Jaffer 3. Dravid 4. Sachin (Off / Leg Spin / Seam Medium) 5. Laxman 6. Yuvraj (Left Arm Orthodox) 7. Dhoni 8. Anil (Leg Spinner) 9. Zaheer (LH Seam) 10. Sreesanth (RH Seam) / Irfan (LH Swing) 11. R.P. Singh (LH Swing) / Munaf Patel (RH Seam)

    We are performers. So please do not relay on luck. It may come some time as Indian team’s occasional wins. We want to win all the matches lets as loose some matches due to hard luck. God may bless all the Team India performers and rest of others just leave the way to other promising performers in a Great Nation. Thanks.

  • abq on November 23, 2007, 20:33 GMT

    With Sachin, Dravid and Ganguly age India badly needs to inject Yuvraj in the test side. All three of great batsmen are declining. Even rock solid Dravid is on decline. It would not surprise me if Dravid retires before Sachin. I would not mind resting one of the three in every test. I would also include 3 pace bowlers instead of two. If RR and Sree are injured, Pathan could have played as the 3rd seamer. With Doni and Pathan's batting india might even play 5 bowlers if they want to play 2 spinners. The sixth batsman is an insurance against the weakness in defending good fast bowling.

  • Sunil on November 23, 2007, 20:31 GMT

    When lakshman was left out for the world cup, Ricky Ponting was quick to point out "How come you could leave a player of Laxman's class on bench for a world tournament ? ". It was not only his view. Many in the aussie juggernaut consider Laxman more threatening than Sachin.

  • Srini on November 23, 2007, 20:14 GMT

    Thanks to Kumble for believing in Laxman. Laxman has proved once again why he is Very Very Special. It is a joy to watch him bat. The grace and calss he brigs to the crease is unmatched in the world cricket leave Indian Cricket. He should be in the team for the sake of cricket itself. Oh... what a class batsman he is. There are two things: 1) Class - Which Laxman has and others don't. 2) Media and Publicity - Laxman Don't and others have.

    Just imagine the 281 was scored by Tendulkar or Yuvraj. The media and Indian fans would have gone GAGA over it.

    If 6 6s in an over deserves a PORCHE the the 281 and Laxman in Australia last series deserve TWO.

    I think he should play at 4 after Dravid and they both play very well together. Dravid is still the best batsman India has ever produced. Yuvraj needs a break in tests not at the expense of Laxman. They should play Yuvi and Ganguly alternately for now and Yuvi, Ganguly and Sachin little later. Laxman is not dispensable.

  • james in england on November 23, 2007, 19:59 GMT

    laxman on his day comes close to match sachins strokeplay, but unlike sachin he cant string along consistent performances, but hes got tons of talent but he cant seem to match potential

    Jaffer is a good find for india, and can make big scores when settled. obviously everyone knows what a player dravid is, maybe he isnt as exciting to watch as sachin and lara, but he is probaly the best player to have in at 3, probaly on par with kallis and ponting.

    ganguly hasnt got the best technique, but he brings spice, aggression and urgency to the side, plus he can bowl seam up.

    however kartick i think is crap and needs a lot of luck. its definitley the right time for yuvraj to get into the test squad, as now he is finally stringing along performances and has found consistency.

    my team would be

    Jaffer Ganguly Dravid Sachin laxman yuvraj dhoni kumble zaheer sree santh rp singh

    You would notice a massive name missing their ie Sehwag. he will come in to the side sooner or later, and we will have to see how he performs. i really hope he comes good, because he is a match winner, and is one of the best openers india has ever had

  • Anonymous on November 23, 2007, 19:49 GMT

    I completely agree with promoting Laxman. But i prefer him going in at number 3 and the "Wall" at number 4. We have tasted the success of that partnership.

  • GS on November 23, 2007, 19:41 GMT

    WoW, I didn't know that the VVS dug-out would be so crowded! I have always been there ever since his debut against RSA - he scored a fine 50 plus.If somebody doubts his consistency,look up his scores against both RSA and Eng,recently. A big thanks to Kumble,because both RD and SG used to drag their feet over the inclusion of VVS in the XI, when they were captains. Well done VVS - keep showing the Indians that you are the best!!

  • Virju on November 23, 2007, 19:40 GMT

    Mukul, you article is useless. No question VVS is great player and you are trying to defame another great Yuvraj with this article.

  • dev on November 23, 2007, 19:37 GMT

    i surely agree with you all that laxman is really "very very special".n it is true that laxman has been treated with disrespect by bcci.very rarly has laxman failed when india's famed middle order has failed.i think he should bat at 3.which is his fav position.i m a great fan of laxman.his shots are silken touch,his timing is perfect,his placements are magnificant to watch.wait for him in australia.the kangaroos will be left biting dust once again.

  • Prasad S. Thenkabail on November 23, 2007, 19:35 GMT

    Mukul, VVS again?!. This was a good innings, but to say VVS again is too much. You nearly forgot Dhoni, who was more innovative. VVS is someone I respect, but he is part his prime. Sorry, bring in Yuvraj- who is probably the best Indian batsman today. This should be the last series for VVS, Ganguly, and Kumble. Harbajan is not worth his place in team, Murli karthik is better. Sachin should retire after Australian tour. Bring in young kids: Yuvraj, Badrinath, Rohit, Raina, Parthiv, Tiwary, Karthik, Piyush Chawla.......let us get the best team.

  • John on November 23, 2007, 19:32 GMT

    Hi Robert Plant, Can we see some of your articles please? Wondering what could be your level of writing??

  • John on November 23, 2007, 19:31 GMT

    John, Can we see some of your articles please? Wondering what could be your level of writing..

  • Kaiser Mukhtar from Hongkong on November 23, 2007, 19:30 GMT

    Majestic is the word best to describe his ability to dig out and play like a roaring tiger. But the media frenzy over other polished ones onershadows him. He is such a fine player he should never be left out of the team. But i don;t understand the approach of Indian selectors over his Inclusion. I hope sense prevails.Cheers.

  • Syed Hussain on November 23, 2007, 19:29 GMT

    There were many instances where i felt sorry for laxman standing at one end coming at No6 and trying to work around the tail helplessly.He should be up in the order atleast at no 5 if not at 3 .I havent seen a classy player than vvs in test cricket for a long time after mark waugh.

  • AV Radhakrishnan on November 23, 2007, 19:23 GMT

    There's only a VVS dug-out because we choose to remember him so selectively. And because we feel the need to accomodate others - any player at some given time - in the XI, and put pressure on VVS in the process. VVS has been a gem upon whom flaws have been thrust, by the force of perception. And I say this because I know VVS well, both the batsman and the man.

  • Raj on November 23, 2007, 19:22 GMT

    I m a huge fan of laxman and cant get enough of him.He is among few batsmen who have scored highly against aussies at home and away.And the aussies acknowledge this fact.Why he is made scapegoat is beyond reason.I feel there are few batsmen who look so elegant as laxman when he is in full flow.Even there is grace in his defence and there is silken touch in his batting.YS is a very good player but he cant be made to play at VVS expense.Yuvraj wont have to wait long as the big four are nearing the end of their career.Age is in Yuvraj's side.Till then,lets enjoy VVS magic.

  • Ganesh on November 23, 2007, 19:20 GMT

    One fifty, one useful fifty. Now everyone started prising VVS. Don't forget how long rope has given to him. He has only made 50. He has to prove a lot to justify his skills in this innings and other upcoming matches also.

    Two, three failures. All anti-ganguly fans get together and started chanting against him. There is no one in present Indian cricket to equal his achievements in oneday/test cricet. Please don't forget his contributions as a leader and team player in the team.

  • Vivek on November 23, 2007, 19:18 GMT

    Yet again VVS stamps his class. One of the most eleant players today, he continues to be treated unfairly by the Indian selectors. I wouldnt advocate No 3 for him though. 3 belongs to Dravidand 4 to Sachin. He is perfect for No 5 with Saurav/Yuvi at 6.We need Saurav more for his bowling and he did well on day 1. But three cheers to VVS again.

  • Prasad S. Thenkabail on November 23, 2007, 19:17 GMT

    Oh! Mukul,

    Honestly people like you let Indian cricket down. What laxman did today, probably Yuvraj would do better. What Ganguly is today, someone like Rohit Sharma or Badrinath can do better. Make no mistake that Rahul, Ganguly, Laxman all got their chances in early 20s. Now they are in late 30s. It is time for Laxman and Ganguly to call it a day. So should Sachin after Australian tour. Rahul probably can play another 2-3 years. Indeed, it is a tragedy of Indian cricket that Kumble is should lead the team. It is time for him to retire. Harbajan is not good at all in test. Bring Badrinath, Tiwary, Raina, Rohit.......indeed, I dare say the best Indian test team will be: Shewag, Akash Chopra, Uttappa, Yuvraj, Dravid, Sachin, Dhoni, Pathan, Zaheer, Sreeshanth, and Appanna. 12th man: Dinesh karthik, Harbajan, Powar, RP Singh, Praveen kumar, Badrinath, Pathiv patel, and Piyush Chawla, and Suresh Raina. Yuvraj for Laxman, badrinath for Ganguly, Chawla for Kumble..........when will ever Indian cricket have a vision. After winning the first test against Sri Lanka, all that Ricky Ponting spoke off was improvement and intensity for his team. That is a team in continuous pursuit of excellence. India seems to worship it ageing stars, who are past their prime.

  • Raj on November 23, 2007, 19:09 GMT

    Laxman when on song is a treat to watch.No one surpasses him when laxman is in good form.Okay,he isnt a part of ODIs cause of his agility, but he should be automatic choice for Tests cause of sheer class batting.And keeping the tour of australia in mind, he should be given chance in every test.We all know how well he plays against australia.He's the only batsman aussies are wary of.Yuvraj,no doubt,is in great form but he has to wait for his chance.He still has time on his side. Laxman,for his class,is no less than the big three.

  • dedalus on November 23, 2007, 19:03 GMT

    there he goes again, the laxman groupie head banana, coming with every 10 runs scored by vvs. unfortunately, that must imply a measure of enforced abstinence as consistency has been never the hallmark of vvs....;0)

  • priyanka... on November 23, 2007, 18:53 GMT

    ya lax....man was good but dhoni was not bad either....so y so fuss about laxman only....dhoni played an imp..role...so dnt take ny credit from him...DNT FORGET THE CAPTAIN OF INDIAN ONE-DAY CRICKET TEAM....(SOON TO BECOME TEST CAPTAIN AS WELL))

  • gyani Singh on November 23, 2007, 18:51 GMT

    I agree with Sunder. Ganguly was the most successful batsman on two away tours but now because of one poor outings; people are already demanding his head, which is a shame. I agree that VVS is a must in test matches but Ganguly deserves his place in the side as well. We should be thankful that we have plenty of proven batsman jostling each other for a place in test side. Lets celebrate and debate these without any bias or bent.

  • Sai on November 23, 2007, 18:50 GMT

    VVS = Vishwanath without all the chances Vishy got

  • Jason Naidoo on November 23, 2007, 18:44 GMT

    Laxman has loads of talent. He should bat at thhree, Dravid at 6 and Yuvraj at 5.

  • debasish on November 23, 2007, 18:39 GMT

    well i really agree with ur comments mukul.Well laxman has class to watch.It is true that yuvi had hit 6 sixes in t20 but it is really difficult situation that laxman faced in this test match.He really showed class that he has.Besides jaffer game i cannot comment .He is a cool customer, he waits for the wrong deliveries and times the ball very beautifully.Kumble has taken the right decision playing vvs ahead of laxman.Laxman really needs a great congratalations on behave of indian fans.Hope the selectors understand this.In my point of view a player cannot be judged on base of fitness alone.Nodoubt oneday cricket needs fitness of a player but also it needs the class and consistency of a classy player like vvs laxman.

  • Kuldeep on November 23, 2007, 18:38 GMT

    Once barry richards had said "I dont know what politics is keeping VVS Laxman out of th one-day team"..He deserves a place in one-day squad too,let alone tests..

  • Jason Naidoo on November 23, 2007, 18:36 GMT

    Laxman has loads of talent. He should bat at thhree, Dravid at 6 and Yuvraj at 5.

  • annonymously on November 23, 2007, 18:35 GMT

    VVS is indeed special. Yuvraj is also something to talk about in this situation. The only thing I am really concerned about is why the heck they keep Ganguly in the side when he hasn't been really performing. Either way India should drop Ganguly or give him a rest and have the order like this. Karthik, Jaffer for opening Dravid Tendulkar Laxman Yuvraj, Dhoni and the rest. I think Laxman has proved himself enough to be an automatic pick, especially the tests against Australia because he has done really well against them.

  • Farhan on November 23, 2007, 18:33 GMT

    Being a Pakistan fan I do grudingly admit Jaffer and Laxman's class, however Yuvraj's power is simply awesome, a factor which cannot be ignored and his exclusion is just bizarre. You have to admit that the form Yuvraj is in can only benefit India with his inclusion in the test squad.

    Although I would question Ganguly's place in the team - another question would be why India is playing two full-time wicket-keepers. Perhaps Dhoni should be rested for tests and Yuvraj inserted in the batting order. I remember Sehwag in his heyday wreaking havoc in tests - a batsman in such terriffic form can just dictate the game to opponents.

    I think the decision should be between Dhoni and Karthik - Yuvraj should be an automatic selection, and of course questioning Laxman's inclusion is just ridiculous.

  • Abdul kader.k.a. on November 23, 2007, 18:28 GMT

    Mukul ji, Some of our fans vulnarability is they are bring the players over the moon while the player is in form and getting runs and sometimes they bring the same players very down while fail the even in single innings, that's what happing dada today, he fails today only after being top score in SA last year and in ENG this year. So,fans to be fair while say their views,as far as i am concern even Laxman may open the innings as he did in the early days of his career because he can handle the pace well remember his innings of 167 at sydney he handled pace well in that bouncy pitch australia. By this move we may bring inform YUVI instead of karthick who is not so much impressive in the past except couple of innings in ENGLAND this year.

  • Vikram Munikoti on November 23, 2007, 18:26 GMT

    VVS is indispensable to the success of India - both in this home series, as well as in Oz. Dropping him would be suicidal. Yuvi has to come into the team at the expense of someone else (most likely Karthik)

  • subbarao on November 23, 2007, 18:24 GMT

    hai very very special laxman is from my own city hyderabad.he is number one batsman in the india itself,becz all his scores are at the time of crutial part of the game(like 20/4,30/5,50/6). No one will play like laxman at that time except himself.i hope kumble knows the greatness of laxman than others.becz he said laxman is best batsman in india at the time of onedays resignation. my sincere advice to kumble is plz give more importance to laxman.

  • Prashant on November 23, 2007, 18:23 GMT

    Easy w/ the prose there, Mukul. VVS had a nice innings but it's too early to start waxing lyrical. Indian journalists and fans start going ga-ga far too easily, especially over individual performances.

  • nangaswaami on November 23, 2007, 18:18 GMT

    great article ear..i loved it as being the GRETAEST FAN of V V S LAXMAN........BHAGWAAN may help him RULE....india will win all the tests..time will tell ..MUKUL ur a genius for digging up such an exotic article...bless u dearee..dr nangaswaami.

  • pramod on November 23, 2007, 18:15 GMT

    mukul thanks for the article in suport of vvs laxman.I just fail 2 understd how can someone even think of droping laxman afer he had a successful england tour where his average was aboive 50 n he scored 2 50s with score of 38 & 46 *.To add to it ,VVS is one man apart who has come up with a brilliant knock in every series he has played.In last 4-5 years i think apart from Dravid he is the second most consistent batsmen in India in tests. If a team like australia rate him higer then Indian batsmen of caliber of Dravid ,Sachin,Ganguly ...how on earth can someone think of droping laxman.guys come out with stats for 4-5 years and i bet u Laxamn has hardly failed in a series. These so called jokers had ruined his career ..One batsmen who could have been rite up there with Dravid n sachin terms of avg. if he was given his due.He has been treated vary badly ..all those wjop support vvs please lets come together and form a club to suport VVS againts all those who want to ruin career of such a high class player can u just imagine VVS laxman not in playing 11 in tests come on guys i cant miss seeing laxman hitting those classy stroeks on both side of the wicket..may god halp him from all the bastards who want him out of the team

  • manohar on November 23, 2007, 18:13 GMT

    guys iam a big fan of laxman and he played special innings today and i like ganguly too.just iazine if ganguly scored 50+ runs today and laxman nothing people would have said nice things abt him and his contributions in last england tour.yuvi is a batsman of symonds class in odis and symonds dint have a permanant place in oz till last year.so yuvi has warm the benches till one more year atleast.

  • Amar on November 23, 2007, 18:11 GMT

    Not sure what are you amazed for... Dhoni scored the same amount of runs on the day, with more effectiveness, and even coming after him at #7. With the kind of inconsistency that he shows, I think Laxman should come after #11, i.e. #12 for you. Useless, misguiding article.

  • madhu on November 23, 2007, 18:07 GMT

    VVS is special no doubt but why are we so knee jerkish in our reactions? VVS should stay, Kartik should go, Ganguly should be replaced by Yuvraj...just based on one innings. Before we come to any conclusions let us atleast consider the records of these players over the last 12 months. No its not SRT or Dravid that has the best test average, it is Kartik! Jaffer and Kartik have provided India with valuable opening partnerships overseas in South Africa and England. These 2 have provided the platform to allow the middle order flower. The only player with his place slightly in doubt is Sourav. If he fails again in the second innings the second test lineup should read, Jaffer, Kartik, VVS, SRT, Dravid, Yuvraj, Dhoni, Kumble, Zaheer, RP and Sreesanth.

  • Naveen on November 23, 2007, 18:05 GMT

    Thinking of dropping Sachin, ganguly or Dravid is stupidity, we cannot underestimate their capabilities based on one innings. VVS deserves a permanent position in team and as Kumble said Yuvi has to wait for his turn.

  • sridhar on November 23, 2007, 18:01 GMT

    Just wanted to draw attention to Ramiz Rajas comments on cricinfo. Laxmans vame barely finds a mention. He goes on and on about dhoni. Darn. This seems like propaganda!

  • Abrar on November 23, 2007, 18:00 GMT

    Hey ure right on target Mukul.Laxman is as silken a player ever witnessed in the test arena.The fact that he has single handedly bashed the worlds best and most balanced team numerous times is an indicator of his tremendous skills. I am a little apprehensive of the fact that Yuvi is not there in the team but there should be no reason why he has to fight for a place with laxman. If the competitor is Ganguly I feel that Ganguly is far more stronger, grittier and experienced to play a test innings than Yuvraj has ever been.Yuvraj flopped miserably in tests against west indies last year .Kumble was right when he pointed out that yuvraj has to wait till his turn comes as of now he is not in the same league as the big 3 and laxman as far as test cricket is concerned.Therefore I think that Ganguly is the preferred choice over Yuvraj at this point in time.

  • Ravi on November 23, 2007, 17:57 GMT

    Good to see article on Laxman. It's really pity Laxman has to play every innings under pressure to save his place. He is very very special and should be automatic choice for playing 11 in Tests.

  • arjun on November 23, 2007, 17:53 GMT

    Go VVS go! I absolutely love watching him play.I cant imagine a better contemporary Indian batsman after Sachin and Rahul.

  • Vincent Sunder on November 23, 2007, 17:49 GMT

    They killed his ODI career inspite of being the top performer with the bat in 2004, thanks to a batsman in the form of Ganguly who was struggling for a place in the side. Rested he was for the tour of Bangla Desh.

    It was heart warming to see VVS turn on the magic,yet again in circumstances when the game was going out of control. With all due respect to Yuvraj's current form, it is indeed an insult to this artist's genius that he is always a couple of failure aways from being axed.

  • Rajesh NJ on November 23, 2007, 17:47 GMT

    Mr.Prashanth,

    I don't think Mukul has blatantly defamed Yuvraj.

    I think it's actually Laxman who has been blamed and defamed by all and sundry. It's beenLlaxman who has time & again been made to look bad when actually he is among the best 3 batsmen in the country. So, spare a thought for Laxman.... The people who have been doing this are the ones who are jingoist.

    So, it's feel good to see someone like Mukul understand what a great player Laxman is and I appreciate him for having the courage to speak for Laxman.

  • Abdul kader.k.a. on November 23, 2007, 17:47 GMT

    Hai Mukul, VVS should bat no.5. I think GANGULY is better player than karthick,isn't it? So,y don't v have YUVI as an opener and dada at no.6? Yuvraj may well suit as an opener particularly in AUS because he is the better player of bouncer.

  • Dr Anand on November 23, 2007, 17:39 GMT

    those who are gunning for ganguly should rem one thing that he was the highest run getter in tests against south africa last year and 2nd highest run getter in the series against eng , u cant drop him on the basis of one test inns .Yuvraj flopped miserably in tests against west indies last year .Kumble was right when he pointed out that yuvraj has to wait till his turn comes as of now he is not in the same league as the big 3 and laxman as far as test cricket is concerned

  • C P SASTRY on November 23, 2007, 17:35 GMT

    Very Very Special Laxman. Due to Politics, favouritism, etc. he was dropped from ONE DAY Team after his success in Australia & hundred against Pakistan which we won the Series. How he is not fit for One dayers? Chappel & Co. have played a part in demolising India's batting line up. VVS is not from Bombay/Delhi/Kolkatta. That's his bad luck. He deserves a certain place without a doubt. If he has failed like Sachin,Dravid or Gunguly, he would have been dropped even from Test matches. If BCCI plays politics, BCCI's loss is Profit to ICL.

  • Rajesh NJ on November 23, 2007, 17:33 GMT

    Wonder how many more times & how often V.V.S.Laxman has to keep proving what a great player he is !!

    He has always been India's go-to man whenever they have been in trouble, especially overseas but he is the one who is always on trial !!

  • Aravind Thathachari on November 23, 2007, 17:32 GMT

    Finally..finally...good to see the VVS dugout having a sizeable presence. It's so hard on VVS to prove everytime he gets onto the field...So many match saving knocks from him and still Indians have a selective amnesia.

  • akash on November 23, 2007, 17:28 GMT

    GO VVS! IF YOU ARE READING THIS... WE LOVE YOU!! =)

  • Kid on November 23, 2007, 17:24 GMT

    I have said it before and I'll say it again. Laxman is the best batsman in the world against Australia, Let it be ODI's or Tests. Someone mentioned that no one can explain why his spot is not certain. I can try to explain that and we will see if you can agree with me, Laxman in from South India and not from Karnataka, that's why. The selectors usually support North Indians, and when Rahul was the captain, he supported people from Karnataka. But I think Kumble had made a much better selection. It was probably the best decision he has taken so far. Yuvi is in a great form, But Laxman has greater class. We all know that, "form comes and goes, but class stays". It could be Laxman's misfortune that he belongs to an era of 3 batting greats and many more dumb selectors. He had proved to be the best almost everytime he gets a chance, but is still never sure of his spot.

  • Tulasi Ram Reddy on November 23, 2007, 17:21 GMT

    Well said. Has he been in any other team, he'd have been a permanant player unlike in Indian team. His class is awesome. A true ideal cricketer. His place in the team was not permanent because he donot have any lobby support. The place which bothers me most is the opening slot. W.Jaffer is fine. He's technically correct batsman and pretty solid in his defence, but what about Karthik? We should somehow find a opener in form before the Aussie tour. Someone like Akash, Gambhir... may suite this spot.

  • Robert Plant on November 23, 2007, 17:20 GMT

    Dear Mukul,

    This is one of the most bland and banal pieces of cricket writing I have come across in a while. The second-by-second journal type entry of your day is boring and it is ridiculous that you evote only the last paragraph to the subjeect of your article. It is about time Cricinfo raised it's game to the next level and hired REAL writers. Else our game be forever doomed destined for the uncouth.

  • Balu on November 23, 2007, 17:19 GMT

    I wish our cricket board will take seriously and give weight to all these comments and make VVS as an automatic choice. Better late than never.

  • murali on November 23, 2007, 17:18 GMT

    Whatever press may say, I cant stop thinking how VVS makes batting look so easy. He is one of the most gifted batsmen India has ever produced(So is Yuvraj). Its really a shame that people cant see his contributions. I have high regards for Ganguly, But its the time that he steps out and make way for Yuvi. But all i can say about VVS's batting is... WOW....

  • murali on November 23, 2007, 17:17 GMT

    Whatever press may say, I cant stop thinking how VVS makes batting look so easy. He is one of the most gifted batsmen India has ever produced(So is Yuvraj). Its really a shame that people cant see his contributions. I have high regards for Ganguly, But its the time that he steps out and make way for Yuvi. But all i can say about VVS's batting is... WOW....

  • arun on November 23, 2007, 17:16 GMT

    Gee! thanks Mukul!Please invite me into the VVS dug out. All those who posted comments said a lot about the 'crisis'man in VVS. But the reason I'm there is the sheer beauty he brings to the game. A Laxman defensive shot also oozes grace and silken touch. Forget scores, winning knocks, his inumerale innings while batting with the tail, his great slip ctahches--he should be there playing international cricket for the pleasure--a cricketers' cricketer!

  • rahul on November 23, 2007, 17:15 GMT

    Agree with the sentiment expressed in this forum that Dravid and Laxman are the 1 and 2 for test matches. Yuvraj, as good as he is on current ODI form, cannot be assured of a place in Tests. Tests require a different temperament and technique. In one days, you can see off Akhtar in a 3 overs spell. In tests , the ability to see of 25-30 overs of unrelenting aggression at both ends is required and Dravid and Laxman have proved their class several times in such scenarios. They are indispensable for the next 2 years.

  • Jani Dushman on November 23, 2007, 17:15 GMT

    1. Sehwag 2. Jaffer 3. Dravid. 4. Sachin Tendulkar 5. VVS laxman 6. Yuvraj Singh 7. MS Dhoni 8. Anil Kumbley 9. Zaheer Khan 10.Harbhajan Singh 11. Munaf Patel

  • Sri Harsha on November 23, 2007, 17:14 GMT

    Mukul,

    You are always spot on in regard with Laxman's place in the test team. He always has been the less celebrated heroes of Indian cricket and unjustly too. I hope with Kumble in charge, hope Laxman gets a better deal from hear on.

    Go Lax! Go Mukul!

  • Sundar Radhakrishnan on November 23, 2007, 17:14 GMT

    Not even one person has mentioned that Ganguly was the best batsman for us in both South Africa and England. That is the problem, all our fans are partisian and just want to glorify their guys and bash the others. All the bashing based on old history, not recent form. No surprise, that the other fallable guy is Karthick, who happens to be the second best batsman in the last two series. I think that, this is the best playing eleven for India and also in the correct batting order. I am sad to see this, but you got to admit that Laxman has become the least positive batsman in our middle order, slower than even Sachin. May be the pressure of always in scrutiny has got to him. But my point is the slowness does not justify him promoted to number 3. Dravid is the best batsman India has ever produced and if the situation demands he can score as fast as anybody. I am sure Rahul will prove that.

    Ironically Ganguly the better ODI player is not to be found recently and sure needs to be dropped from ODI team for Rahul.

  • Abdul kader.k.a. on November 23, 2007, 17:14 GMT

    I congratulate pakistan for their fighting show after bowled out for just 231,patricularly Tanvir for his brilliant bowling. He took two vital wicket of Dravid&Ganguly, that became huge blow for India after lunch and ofcourse run-out of sachin too. I don't know why Indians are oftenly being run-outs,particularly while Dravid in the middle, remember Dravid himself ran-out in famous test in kolkata against aussies in 2001 and also he involved so many run-outs in both forms of the game.Indians must look these areas in coming matches. The most significant persons today are Laxman and Dhoni really batted superbly. Dhoni may become next Gilchrist to cricket world,his aggressive attitude in test mostly remembring the australian left-hander. Laxman as usual showed his class, but the problem to vvs is, he wasn't consistent in his form in the last one year,the stastics tells that he should concentrate to be consistent run getter,it will help to india in future matches and even to him because don't forget yuvraj sitting in the bench even though he is in amazing form in odis and in twenty20.So,Laxman and Ganguly must keep their consistent in their form to keep their places safe. As for as the match is concern this match may go either way from now on, but things may change if Laxman and new skipper Kumble add another 70 or 80 runs for the 7th wicket. Whatever happens it is pleasure to watch both these teams playing well for clinching the victory.

  • Ashok on November 23, 2007, 17:14 GMT

    VVS really rose to the occasion. Only way he can retain his position is by consolidating on his innings with a century. Yuvraj definitely deserves a permanent place in this team. I am surprised with Gangully and Tendulkar available we have gone with Karthik to open the innings. The selectors must make room for Yuvraj at any of these player's expense - Gangully or Karthik or Jaffer. VVS must get his ton to secure his place and not get out cheaply tomorrow. That is the only way to seal your place.

  • arun on November 23, 2007, 17:13 GMT

    "He was, as he often is in Test matches, the best batsman on show." -- often is a very debatable word. In the case of VVS, "often" tends to be synchronous with the border-gavaskar trophy. Most batsmen have their favourite punching bag, but in VVS's case, it's almost the only bag. Dravid is, more often than not, the best batsman on display as clearly evinced by India's test record in the recent past - India's success abroad (with the exception of the recent england tour) has coincided with Dravid's golden years, and not by coincidence. Given the definition of "best" one can only confer that epithet to RS Dravid, purely on the basis of the volume of runs scored and its value to the team. He has done a stellar job as India's opener at number 3, and I just dont see how VVS can replace him on pitches that afford swing and seam movement - VVS's records in England, SA or NZ are case in point. (Now if you meant the prettiest batsman, yeah, I'll give u that for Laxman). The fact of the matter is that Laxman is far too inconsistent as a batsman. Yuvraj too has had similar issues up until the recent past and one can only cojecture at this point whether Yuvi could have done any worse (he has trouble against good spinners on tracks that afford them assistance). The fact remains that one of the big 4 has to make way for younger talent in order to groom them for the day when these 4 batsmen announce their retirement right around the same time. Who should it be? In my book VVS or SC Ganguly, based on recent form. And on that basis alone, Yuvi could have played at the expense of Laxman, Ganguly. And he should have.

  • Andy on November 23, 2007, 17:13 GMT

    Would I be a crazy 'unwashed' radical in suggesting Yuvraj and Laxman in the same XI

  • Sai Bharadwaj on November 23, 2007, 17:11 GMT

    Obviously, Laxman deserves it. Why he was kept out of 2 Worldcups, why he was left out of ODI and why his position is doubtful in tests, Only BCCI knows. :)

  • Aravind on November 23, 2007, 17:11 GMT

    VVS played very well indeed today. But I think he was not undoubtably the best Batsman of the day as written by you Mukul! I thought Dravid played equally well, till he got out. Particularly against Akhtar! The aggressive apporoach of Dravid (8 boundaries) was certainly very evident.

  • rr on November 23, 2007, 17:10 GMT

    We all agree that vvs is very very special....but yuvi is not too bad either... while yuvi averages 33.20 in 19 tests with 2 centuries and 3 fifties vvs averaged a modest 27.80 with 1 century(sydney wonder) and 5 fifties from his first 19 tests(agreed he opened in most of them but still)....so give yuvi a chance before writing him off..we all want to see both of them batting together for India.....

  • Ansar Basha on November 23, 2007, 17:09 GMT

    Laxman is the player who can change match i still remember his innings against Australia its right thing to send him in the 5th position so that he could get more time to settle down and play his trademark shots with a better player as his partner.

    Cheers Ansarbasha

  • Sanjeev on November 23, 2007, 17:09 GMT

    Laxman has been and will remain the Rodney Dangerfield of Indian cricket. Gets no respect. Always delivers. Not comic relief but relief to Indian fans, who after yet another spectacular middle order collapse know that until Laxman is around, there is hope. And to add to the charm - be it cameos of 30-70 or great knocks of 167 and 281...its always done with style.

  • sundheep on November 23, 2007, 17:08 GMT

    hey mukul firt and foremost im a huge fan of laxman and undoubtedly belong to the laxman dugout and always believed that he the best choice for the no.3 slot in test cricket and once again feel vindicted at his display of his class and brilliance in his stylish knock..it was a treat to watch ..but i simply cant digest this single minded yuvraj bashing in your blogs which is enormously diluting and polluting our support for laxman.. why r u projecting this as a yuvraj laxman battle or yuvraj sourav laxman battle..comments like 'yuvraj will never be a significant test player due to his average of 33 in 19 tests and that he is bout to finish as a limited over specialist.. ' in one of your previous blogs can be easily avoided..like my comment on that blog, after 19 tests STEVE WAUGH had an average of 27.56,JACQUES KALLIS 29.03,SANATH JAYASURIYA 34.58(after 22 matches 33.20),VVS LAXMAN 27.80 .. didnt they turn out to be significant test batsmen for their respective countries !! so please try to recognise talent and class which was so evident in those 2 brilliant test centuries against pakistan when the team was in trouble especially the 112 in karachi.. he is just 26 years and im sure hell improve and hope that he turns out to be an adam gilchrist(at 28) or mike hussey(at 30) for india in the sense of late entry(fresh entry in yuvraj's case since he has aldready played 19 tests)but a showcase of brilliance and dominance after that .. when will we start appreciating concepts like strong bench strength constructive competition for slots etc..

  • Tejas on November 23, 2007, 17:05 GMT

    I don’t understand what Jaffer is doing in the team. I can’t remember him playing that well, I don’t remember his innings. A couple of century is classified as a fluke, not brilliance! I think he should be kicked out and get Yuvi in! He can bowl, everyone knows he is a class batsman and he's like a live wire on the ground when it comes to fielding.

  • Omar Khayyam on November 23, 2007, 17:04 GMT

    yeaa.. well said buddy.. it was A VERY-VERY-SPECIAL day.. coming back in side and having a point to prove.. he was just too good to watch..!!

  • Vivek on November 23, 2007, 16:57 GMT

    Thoughtful observations and nice writing on a good day of test cricket.

  • Raj on November 23, 2007, 16:56 GMT

    Mukul, VVS is one of the three best batsman in India today. His position in the team is at number five. The fight has to be between SG and YS for the 6th spot. AK understands the injustice done to VVS. I do hope YS gets a chance at #6 spot, especially in AUS, so we can find out if he is really worthy of all the favorable press he has been getting. We sure know VVS's record in AUS.

  • Parikshith Ganta on November 23, 2007, 16:54 GMT

    Mukul, you are spot On.Laxman, is so easy on eyes he often goes unnoticed. its a pity that india have not used his servcies in the one day cricket. he is one man who ejoys the challenge. Remember, last time India toured australia. he was unstoppable. Not often you hear Ricky Ponting say, we are not able to find a way to get him out. I wisk laxman well and look forward to see him get some big hundreds agianst the aussies. Cant wait to see the "Very Very Special Laxman" again.

  • Tan13 on November 23, 2007, 16:53 GMT

    VS played very well indeed. But he's not a test number 3. We have one of the best at that position and he should stay there. I'm happy with laxman at 6. the issue I have is that Yuvraj is a better bat at the moment than Ganguly. Ganguly in Australia against the shortball............can't seem him winning that contest

  • Raj on November 23, 2007, 16:52 GMT

    Mukul, VVS is one of the three best batsman in India today. His position in the team is at number five. The fight has to be between SG and YS for the 6th spot. AK understands the injustice done to VVS. I do hope YS gets a chance at #6 spot, especially in AUS, so we can find out if he is really worthy of all the favorable press he has been getting. We sure know VVS's record in AUS.

  • Vishal on November 23, 2007, 16:47 GMT

    Can anybody please tell me why is Ganguly in this team?

  • sajid arif dar on November 23, 2007, 16:45 GMT

    till yesterday every one was sayin"why is laxman in the team and yuvraj out?"...today he played a straight drive off tanveer which shud answer this question..i personally feel he is india's best batsman wen it comes to tests..there is no better batsman to watch than VVS.

  • Vivek Sharma on November 23, 2007, 16:44 GMT

    I think Dravid played a good solid knock at first down, but if at all, I will like to have Laxman at number four, ahead of Tendulkar at all occasions. Dravid and Laxman are great together, and similarly Tendulkar and Ganguly must follow each other. I think Dhoni plays best with the tail, and so his appearance can be delayed.

  • Jani Dushman on November 23, 2007, 16:41 GMT

    Good analysis. We now need to replace Saurav with Yuvi and Dinesh Kaarthick with Sehwag. As you pointed in your last post India needs impetus at the start of the innings. Once, we get into a defensive mindset, Indian middle order never unfurls all the shots it has in its arsenal. We have seen it happening time and again.

  • Thoths on November 23, 2007, 16:35 GMT

    VVS had always played his part in Test matches. we always under play him. for me he is two down or one down batsmen.

    And Yuvi, we need him in test too. just that he need to find his nick in test matches. remove sourav and bring yuvi in.

  • Prakash Kolluri on November 23, 2007, 16:33 GMT

    Once again, it is VVS that saved India. When can selectors ever believe that VVS is far underrated to what he is capable of. Once the match is over, everyone including the selectors forget that VVS saved India and probably would even win the game for India. Everyone starts talking about the uncertainty of his place in the side. Why? All other players can score below 10 runs and still be in the reckoning for selection, VVS is the scapegoat for Indian selectors whenever they are looking for a slot to fill in with a new player, be it Yuvraj or be it Dinesh Kartik. Guys wake up and stop dirty politics. VVS deserves far more credit than what he is given. No one can even explain why such a good batsman does not figure in the ODI team? Its high time Selectors wake up and correct their actions before the Australia tour.

  • Ranjeet Ranade on November 23, 2007, 16:32 GMT

    I agree with you - Laxman deserves to bat up in the order. Tendulkar should probably drop down as he would bat very well with the tail around him.

    Sorry to read about the rowdy spectators around you. I have stopped going to the matches since stadiums these days seem to be full of flag waving jingoistic "fans". It takes the fun out of watching quality cricket - especially of India's opponents!

    Ranjeet Bangalore

  • Prakash Kolluri on November 23, 2007, 16:31 GMT

    Once again, it is VVS that saved India. When can selectors ever believe that VVS is far underrated to what he is capable of. Once the match is over, everyone including the selectors forget that VVS saved India and probably would even win the game for India. Everyone starts talking about the uncertainty of his place in the side. Why? All other players can score below 10 runs and still be in the reckoning for selection, VVS is the scapegoat for Indian selectors whenever they are looking for a slot to fill in with a new player, be it Yuvraj or be it Dinesh Kartik. Guys wake up and stop dirty politics. VVS deserves far more credit than what he is given. No one can even explain why such a good batsman does not figure in the ODI team? Its high time Selectors wake up and correct their actions before the Australia tour.

  • Vik on November 23, 2007, 16:31 GMT

    Although Yuvi is an excellent player in great form, I don't think that VVS should be dropped because of him just yet. Regarding his batting position, I feel number that having him at 6 and Ganguly at 5 is a good move. Laxman showed again today that he has the ability to mix lovely strokeplay with good defence. As the situation demanded, he did not try to impose his will upon the action but played on the merits of every ball. I am big fan of Ganguly but feel that sometimes his ego can get the better of him in pressure situatioms - a negative and a positive. That's why having Ganguly at five means that Laxman at six brings increased security.

    Hopefully tomorrow the tail won't let him down and Laxman will go on and on and on....

  • P.Satish Kumar on November 23, 2007, 16:29 GMT

    You are right. I think India's three best batsmen are Dravid, Laxman and Jaffer. Though I know I can't justify as a huge huge fan of Tendulkar's through thick and think by saying the above but I think thats how things stand today.

    I think ideally Laxman should bat at No.3, Dravid and No.4 and then Tendulkar and Ganguly.

    Its surprising to see that Yuvraj is fighting for a place with Laxman. In fact it should be with Ganguly. No matter what Laxman is light years ahead in a Test match and in all conditions than any of the youngsters waiting in the wings.

  • Isaac on November 23, 2007, 16:27 GMT

    I don't know what the people who brought down VVS to the earth and disposed him as crap would say now. Indeed very very special innings. VVS bashers what do you have to say now? Wanna put your toes in your mouth?

  • shashank on November 23, 2007, 16:19 GMT

    Thanks for speaking for VVS. His bat does the talking for him but sometimes in todays world you do need some media support,especially as he doesn't play 1day cricket. I wish people could just let him be and weave his magic.Hoping for a special ton from VVS, his fan(rare breed).

  • Ankur on November 23, 2007, 16:17 GMT

    I think Dravid deserves the no. 3 spot because of his sheer consistency. Laxman, even though is a magician on days he is playing well, hasn't really had that assurance or consistency about him. No.5 is definitely for him and not Ganguly. I wonder if Ganguly could be better used a la Gilchrist and with Dhoni in tow it could be a killing punch when the match is on the line.

  • Bhaskar Maddala on November 23, 2007, 16:15 GMT

    It is appalling that probably the player most capable of digging India out of a hole playing at any position from 3 to 6 is the one under most scrutiny every time prior to a test series. Often over shadowed by his more flamboyant colleagues, who flatter to deceive more often then not, VVS is left carrying the can. I do not see Yuvraj Singh playing the "in the trenches" knock that VVS is regularly forced to play and is capable of. One excellent gauge of how good a player is, is how well he can adapt his game to a situation, VVS is capable of expressing himself as he has demonstrated in the past. Any decision to replace VVS with Yuvraj will be unfortunate. The more likely candidate to make way for Yuvraj is Ganguly, but even that will be a difficult decision to make as I think Ganguly is more capable of a gritty innings than Yuvraj, being more mentally tough. In spite of Yuvraj's stupendous form during the recent ODI, there is an element of doubt associated with whether he can translate his form to the test match arena. Yuvraj deserves his opportunity sooner rather than later, but will his occasional flaying outside the off lead to his downfall must like that of Shewag? Only time will tell.

  • Prabhu Narasimhan on November 23, 2007, 16:14 GMT

    It is a reflection on the political undercurrents which run through the Indian team and its selection comittee if Laxman's place is always in question. The best six batsman should play and in my view the best six batsman at the moment are:

    1. Dravid 2. Tendulkar 3. Laxman 4. Yuvraj 5&6 Jaffer and Karthik (as openers its a specialist role and you cant slot Ganguly in even if he is a better batsman than the two).

    Therefore, there is no spot for Ganguly in the team. Ganguly has had a long and a fruitful career but someone needs to let him know that we appreciate his services but he needs to move on.

  • taank on November 23, 2007, 16:13 GMT

    you are actual hero Mukul . time is coming when you are going to say you are best player .Who is saying that yuvi can take only WS's place . only your fearfull brain .There are other 5 batsmen too .Compare Yuvi with them A person making 50 runs but misfeilding to give away 25 runs or somebody making 40 run and as a exc. feilder saving 20 runs .

  • Gerard on November 23, 2007, 16:12 GMT

    I would have Ganguly open with Jaffer, play VVS at #5 cause by then you know if Team India is still in the pot or in the fire, Dhoni at #6, Kartik at #7, Zaheer at #8 the - then bring in good old Bajji for some of his big hits - what ever he gets will be bonus runs for the team.

  • krish subramanian on November 23, 2007, 16:11 GMT

    silken touch by laxman...problem in india is Test cricket is least popular among the three versions of the game... Laxman has played many gr8 knocks under pressure... today is another one.. why don't the indian team management understand this and give him the due...Sure Laxman needs a promotion and that too immediately...

  • vivek on November 23, 2007, 16:11 GMT

    You call Jaffer an enigma? How about VVS himself? This is a guy who single handedly thrashed around one of cricket's finest ever teams and time and again he needs to justify his place in the side. Bottom line is he just isnt as consistent as SRT or Dravid. But that's what makes him fun to watch I suppose. You never know what's going to happen next.

  • vivek on November 23, 2007, 16:09 GMT

    it was nice to watch laxman bat again after such a long time..(3 months). he has easily been india's no.2 crisis man after rahul dravid in the last 3-4 years though his contributions are often overlooked for some reason.. nice to see someone recognizing it. yuvraj, is a very good batsman, but i think he will have to wait for a while as it would be unfair to drop either ganguly or laxman.

  • tirru on November 23, 2007, 16:08 GMT

    some people talk with performance, here comes the perperomer again. LAXMAN is irreplcable as a batsman in the team. good luck to indian cricket team

  • biju on November 23, 2007, 16:05 GMT

    I remember your previous article on the same issue and it was to the point.VVS should bat at no 3 or 4 .But yuvi's exclusion is unacceptable.I still belive with Yuvi India will have more balanced team with a better feilding.Imagine the dropped catch of Huk by Harbajan where yuvi normally used to feild at that stage of the game.It would have made a big difference.

  • Srini on November 23, 2007, 16:05 GMT

    Yup, totally agree with mukul. VVS along with Dravid is automatic entry in playing XI anyday. If we want to bring in Yuvi in playing XI, either Karthik(Ganguly opens in this case) or ganguly need to sit out! Thanks Very Very Special Laxman for being crises man again!

  • vatsal bajpai on November 23, 2007, 15:57 GMT

    Excellent. Good to see I'm not the only one who appreciates the talents of VVS and is rankled at the gross misuse of said talent by the Indian selectors.

  • Raju chale Raju on November 23, 2007, 15:56 GMT

    I agree that VVS is best for india in tests. He normally play and rescue when most others are fail. One sad thing is YUVI is missed in this test for his batting and fielding. YUVI should be selected way a head of GANGULY. GANGULY is out of form in batting in intire one serious and not done much in first inning. What is wrong if YUVI get chance a head of GANGULY as YUVI in much more better form and in good touch. He had at least scored 50, i am sure and things would be much more in INDIA's favour.

  • Dinesh on November 23, 2007, 15:56 GMT

    Today, Mohinder Amarnath, the master of comebacks, made a telling statement on Neo Sports. When queried about the fact that in recent times, VVS has been under pressure every time we walks out to bat for India, he said, 'That speaks poorly of the state of Indian cricket. He should be an automatic choice for the kind of player he is'. I could not help reflecting that this was true in Jimmy's own case at many points in his illustrious career.

    Laxman's place being even debated in our country is indeed a shame - he has rarely been made to feel secure in this line up and often times ridiculous names of players with a flash-in-the-pan performance has been discussed in the same breath.

    But surely, Yuvaraj is playing with far more responsibility, class and consistency today and he also needs to be blended into the equation somehow. But not at the cost of making a very, very special Laxman feel the heat.

    What is heartening though is that this situation has actually impelled Laxman to dig deeper and show character apart from class, which is a good blend for Indian cricket.

  • Pankaj Saini on November 23, 2007, 15:56 GMT

    "... we're used to taking things one day at a time". An appropriate finishing line Mukul. It is indeed surprising why VVS' place is under constant scrutiny. Many would question is consistency. A brilliant 100 usually followed by dismal scores. And yet, everytime India has needed him, he has produced. Starting from that magnificient double 100 in Calcutta, till today, whenever the going has gone tough, VVS has got going. Can we really fault him for noting honking up his average against Zimbawe and Bangladesh? He is, alongside Dravid, our best batter against challenging oppositions. I hope he scores a hundred tomorrow. At least it will mean a sure ticket to Australia.

  • Prashant on November 23, 2007, 15:52 GMT

    Mukul, somewhere down the line you have seem to become the counterpart of the jingoist fans who want to drop Laxman for Yuvi. It is true that as of now on current form Yuvi cannot replace Laxman or even Ganguly, but you do not have to prove this point by blatantly defaming Yuvi. Laxman remains what he is, but to make him look good, you should understand that making Yuvi look bad will hardly help.

  • Shantan on November 23, 2007, 15:51 GMT

    I can't agree more, Mukul. You're spot on with both Wasim & Laxman. I haven't seen much of Wasim, but I think Laxman deserves more than what the Indian fans have given him. Just imagine what would have happened if Sachin had made the 281 instead of Laxman. We'd have immortalised him (not that we haven't done so already!), but Laxman is just not given his due! In the last few test matches that India has played, I have almost been hoping for a 80-4 or 100-5 kind of situation for Laxman to come in and rescue the side. Because only when he does that will the fickle-minded Indian Cricket fan approve of his class. And what's worse, if he fails in the next game, they'll be gunning for his head. Sad to see such a class player perennially on the edge! He definitely deserves more... and I sincerely hope he gets a big one tomorrow and takes the team to 350. Only then can we be sure that he'll go to Australia! If he gets out before a 100, be sure the "fans" will have daggers pointing at him!

  • VVS fan on November 23, 2007, 15:46 GMT

    awesome article! Hope VVS continues today's mood into the 2nd day :)

  • g parthasarathy on November 23, 2007, 15:44 GMT

    It is VVS's day - what a fine innings

  • g parthasarathy on November 23, 2007, 15:43 GMT

    It is VVS's day - what a fine innings - all his strokes are gems. Goo luck Wish him god speed. I hope he will make a hundred on 24 Nov

  • Venkat Rao on November 23, 2007, 15:39 GMT

    Mukul, You have one more fan in the Laxman dug-out. I cannot imagine why he has to prove himself again and again. He has never failed when we have really required him unlike the other poster children of Indian cricket. Thank you for the uplifting articles on VVS

  • Anonymous on November 23, 2007, 15:36 GMT

    Lets not get carried away. No 3 belongs to the master -Dravid. 5 looks good. And I'm really worried for Tendulkar and Sourav for the Aussie trip. Lets see...

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  • Anonymous on November 23, 2007, 15:36 GMT

    Lets not get carried away. No 3 belongs to the master -Dravid. 5 looks good. And I'm really worried for Tendulkar and Sourav for the Aussie trip. Lets see...

  • Venkat Rao on November 23, 2007, 15:39 GMT

    Mukul, You have one more fan in the Laxman dug-out. I cannot imagine why he has to prove himself again and again. He has never failed when we have really required him unlike the other poster children of Indian cricket. Thank you for the uplifting articles on VVS

  • g parthasarathy on November 23, 2007, 15:43 GMT

    It is VVS's day - what a fine innings - all his strokes are gems. Goo luck Wish him god speed. I hope he will make a hundred on 24 Nov

  • g parthasarathy on November 23, 2007, 15:44 GMT

    It is VVS's day - what a fine innings

  • VVS fan on November 23, 2007, 15:46 GMT

    awesome article! Hope VVS continues today's mood into the 2nd day :)

  • Shantan on November 23, 2007, 15:51 GMT

    I can't agree more, Mukul. You're spot on with both Wasim & Laxman. I haven't seen much of Wasim, but I think Laxman deserves more than what the Indian fans have given him. Just imagine what would have happened if Sachin had made the 281 instead of Laxman. We'd have immortalised him (not that we haven't done so already!), but Laxman is just not given his due! In the last few test matches that India has played, I have almost been hoping for a 80-4 or 100-5 kind of situation for Laxman to come in and rescue the side. Because only when he does that will the fickle-minded Indian Cricket fan approve of his class. And what's worse, if he fails in the next game, they'll be gunning for his head. Sad to see such a class player perennially on the edge! He definitely deserves more... and I sincerely hope he gets a big one tomorrow and takes the team to 350. Only then can we be sure that he'll go to Australia! If he gets out before a 100, be sure the "fans" will have daggers pointing at him!

  • Prashant on November 23, 2007, 15:52 GMT

    Mukul, somewhere down the line you have seem to become the counterpart of the jingoist fans who want to drop Laxman for Yuvi. It is true that as of now on current form Yuvi cannot replace Laxman or even Ganguly, but you do not have to prove this point by blatantly defaming Yuvi. Laxman remains what he is, but to make him look good, you should understand that making Yuvi look bad will hardly help.

  • Pankaj Saini on November 23, 2007, 15:56 GMT

    "... we're used to taking things one day at a time". An appropriate finishing line Mukul. It is indeed surprising why VVS' place is under constant scrutiny. Many would question is consistency. A brilliant 100 usually followed by dismal scores. And yet, everytime India has needed him, he has produced. Starting from that magnificient double 100 in Calcutta, till today, whenever the going has gone tough, VVS has got going. Can we really fault him for noting honking up his average against Zimbawe and Bangladesh? He is, alongside Dravid, our best batter against challenging oppositions. I hope he scores a hundred tomorrow. At least it will mean a sure ticket to Australia.

  • Dinesh on November 23, 2007, 15:56 GMT

    Today, Mohinder Amarnath, the master of comebacks, made a telling statement on Neo Sports. When queried about the fact that in recent times, VVS has been under pressure every time we walks out to bat for India, he said, 'That speaks poorly of the state of Indian cricket. He should be an automatic choice for the kind of player he is'. I could not help reflecting that this was true in Jimmy's own case at many points in his illustrious career.

    Laxman's place being even debated in our country is indeed a shame - he has rarely been made to feel secure in this line up and often times ridiculous names of players with a flash-in-the-pan performance has been discussed in the same breath.

    But surely, Yuvaraj is playing with far more responsibility, class and consistency today and he also needs to be blended into the equation somehow. But not at the cost of making a very, very special Laxman feel the heat.

    What is heartening though is that this situation has actually impelled Laxman to dig deeper and show character apart from class, which is a good blend for Indian cricket.

  • Raju chale Raju on November 23, 2007, 15:56 GMT

    I agree that VVS is best for india in tests. He normally play and rescue when most others are fail. One sad thing is YUVI is missed in this test for his batting and fielding. YUVI should be selected way a head of GANGULY. GANGULY is out of form in batting in intire one serious and not done much in first inning. What is wrong if YUVI get chance a head of GANGULY as YUVI in much more better form and in good touch. He had at least scored 50, i am sure and things would be much more in INDIA's favour.