October 6, 2010

The steel beneath the silk

The splendour of his batting sometimes distracts Laxman's admirers from the mental strength that is such a big part of his game
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Artists are usually loved, but in sport, particularly team sport, artistry can sometimes be regarded as an indulgence, and even as mildly frivolous. This conforms to the notion, often false, that pleasure givers are essentially pleasure seekers. Of course, no one has ever accused VVS Laxman of frivolity, but it is true that the beauty of his art often obscures the steel behind it.

Yesterday he stroked 73 from 79 balls, and if one could separate the innings from the circumstances, it was a serenely majestic one, full of craft and silken shots. When Nathan Hauritz overpitched early in the innings, Laxman leaned forward to stroke it through cover, and when he pitched it fractionally short, he glided back to slap it past cover. The short ball, which had accounted for a few of his team-mates, didn't hustle him. One was top-edged over the keeper, but the others he pulled with handsome certainness: there were two men on the fence for the stroke and twice the ball went between them. It was as if Laxman was batting as he pleased.

Yet it was not the ease and poise with which he batted but the circumstances he mastered that will grant this innings its greatness. That he watched Sachin Tendulkar perish trying to manufacture a stroke, endured the shambolic run-out of MS Dhoni, played for a large part of the innings hoping the No. 10 wouldn't let him down, and more than anything else, played with the knowledge that one false stroke would end the game for his team, while still managing to keep his wits and his game, points to a singularly exceptional feat.

To bat at the international level takes considerable skill; to marshal the trickiest of fourth-innings chases in the company of the tail requires nerves of steel. That's a rare and priceless quality. The splendour and the gorgeousness of his batting sometimes distract Laxman's admirers from the mental strength that is such a big part of his game. It isn't a coincidence that he is part of a rare and small group of batsmen whose second-innings average is higher than their first.

Numbers, of course, sell him short. A man of his talent and temperament should have more than 16 hundreds from 114 Tests. Alastair Cook has 13 from 60. Batting for a large part of his career at No. 6 - his preferred position, No. 3, has been inhabited by his friend and partner in many heroics, Rahul Dravid - hasn't helped. Laxman has learnt and adapted to batting with the tail, but his natural game is suited to batting at the top, when the bowlers have to set fields to get him out rather than offer him a single to get his partner on strike.

But it will stand the scrutiny of time that not only have many of his runs come in tough situations but against the toughest opponents. No team has beaten Australia in more Tests than India since Laxman started playing, and to these nine wins, from Kolkata to Mumbai, Chennai to Mohali, Adelaide to Perth, Laxman has contributed over 1000 runs at 71.80.

It isn't a coincidence that Laxman is part of a rare and small group of batsmen whose second-innings average is higher than their first

And only a Test ago he guided India to a series-levelling win in Colombo, with an assured hundred in the final innings of the match, a feat so rare that it has been achieved only 63 times in the history of the game, which spans 1972 Tests and features 3396 hundreds in all. It is rare for a reason: a chase in the final innings not only requires the batsman summon all his skills for the pitch on the final is at its most demanding but also the mental faculty to isolate his batting from the situation while being always aware that his is the wicket that could turn the game.

I interviewed Laxman in his hotel room on the eve of his 100th Test, in Nagpur in 2008. He had friends waiting for him, but he was generous with his time. He was open and sincere and looked almost embarrassed when I asked him if he was aware of the effect he had on the viewer. The thing he was most proud of, he said, was his mental strength. "I am proud of my innings in pressure situations. I really relish pressure situations, when you have to bail the team out, and you can't do that if you are not mentally strong."

The other thing I remember from the interview was how he spoke of the team's ambition to become No.1. The "contribution", he said, emphasising the word, was very important. The team was focused on being No. 1, he said, and as long as "I am contributing to that goal, I'll be more than happy".

India went on to win that Test and with it the Border-Gavaskar trophy. Laxman contributed 64 in the first innings and featured in a 146-run fourth wicket partnership with Tendullkar after a mini-collapse during which India lost three wickets for 18 runs. And in Mohali yesterday, he ensured that India will retain the trophy.

ESPNCricinfo announced its all-time India XI last month. Three of his batting partners - Tendulkar, Dravid and Sehwag - made it to the team. Laxman lost out to Vijay Hazare. But who knows what will happen if the exercise is repeated in a couple of years. Laxman still looks good to win India a few more Tests.

For all the beautiful strokes he played at Mohali, the enduring image of Laxman from the Test will be him wildly admonishing Pragyan Ojha for not being alert to a single. If abusing your own team-mates was part of the ICC code of conduct, it could even earn him his first-ever summons to the match referee's chamber, for in one frame he appears to be threatening Ojha with bodily harm with a raised bat. It's a moment to savour: you might never see him this animated on a cricket field again.

Sambit Bal is the editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on October 8, 2010, 14:53 GMT

    don't bring Stats.. We are talking about VVS .. Stats doesn't reflect his greatness.. his skills.. his class.. watching him bat is just a feeling that can't be described, his technique is just impeccable..! he's a one of the most underrated player of post 90 era.

  • thisisashish on October 8, 2010, 13:14 GMT

    I guess the reason why Sachin almost never has saved a test match in a crisis is that there is no crisis in the first place when he plays well.

  • anfour on October 8, 2010, 12:28 GMT

    As important as it is to contribute to the 4th innings as Laxman did,the 2nd innings is also important.2nd inningsis where the foundation is laid for a win.As many of u hav said Sachin may not hav contributed to the 4th innings but he scored a 98 in the 2nd innings which laid a foundation for an indian win in 4th innings.I cannot understand why people r nt criticising Sehwag or Dravid for underperforming in the 4th innings but only Sachin.Moreover Sachin was the 2nd highest topscorer in the 4th innings.While Sachin is expected to score highly in both innings,Laxman can escape scoring a 73 in the 4th innings but scoring only 2 in the 2nd innings.Laxman not contributing was the reason that india had a 23 run deficit after 2nd innings.

  • jackiethepen on October 8, 2010, 11:09 GMT

    Cook is certainly likely to overtake Laxman in the 100s department if he solves his technical problems, but surely a closer comparison is with Bell who also is a beautiful batsman to watch and has batted at his best at 5/6. Laxman batted 14 years for his 16 tons and is now aged 35 with an average of 47. Bell is 7 years his junior and already has 11 tons with an average of 42. As a batsman Bell is now entering the prime time of an international cricketer and is likely to surpass Laxman's average. Since returning to Test Cricket Bell averages 53 for example. While looking at the greats of India, Australia and South Africa it is as well to look back to their stats at the age of 26-28 to compare them with Cook and Bell. I am a great admirer by the way of Laxman, Dravid and Tendulkar and of course Ganguly when he was playing. Truly a Fab Four.

  • Remus_Lupin on October 8, 2010, 2:50 GMT

    VVS & SRT anaylysis in tough situations (4th inn chase or tough draw) VVS-1) 66 vs AUS in Chennai in 4th inn chase of 155 all others failed 2) 74 vs WI in Port of Spain in 3rd inn when India were 4/56 resulted in Win 3)154 vs WI in Kolkata in 3rd inn with 1st inn deficit of 150 runs after India were 4/85 helped draw 4)67 vs NZ in Mohali in 3 rd inn to avoid inn defeat after India were 3/18 5)69 vs AUS in 3rd innings on a Mumbai minefield resulted in win 6)73 vs SA in J'berg in 3rd inn on pacy/bouncy pitch resulted in Win 7)79 vs AUS in Perth in 3rd inn to take India from 160/6 to 294 resulted in Win 8)103 vs SL in Colombo in 4th inn chase of 258 after India were 4/60 9)73 in this match SRT-1)92 vs ENG in Trent Bridge in 3rd inn after deficit of 300 runs helped draw 2)176 vs WI in Kolkata in 4th inn to after 1st inn deficit of 150 runs after India were 4/85 helped draw 3)55 vs AUS in 3rd inn on a Mumbai minefield 4)103 agnst ENG in Chennai in 4th inn chase of 387 5)54 vs SL in Colombo

  • on October 7, 2010, 21:14 GMT

    Why do people keep fighting over who's better in the Indian line up? I feel privileged to be part of a generation which saw Sachin, Rahul, VVS, Dada and Viru among others. Get well soon Soumik and Akash

  • Akash.S on October 7, 2010, 14:25 GMT

    @Soumik. Righly said. Except 103* in Chennai against England, SRT has nothing to show that he can win or draw Test Matches as well. And that match also we won bcoz of rocking 83 (in 68 balls) by Sehwag and then quickfire 85* by Yuvraj. SRT did contributed to the win but did not win match on its own. I am still not sure why he is selected in All Time India XI. He is no where near to Laxman, Dravid and Sehwag. He has always played for records and this is no hidden truth.

  • Go_F.Alonso on October 7, 2010, 12:03 GMT

    An indication to how much I've enjoyed this innings by Laxman is not just that I've read all the articles on Cricinfo but also that I've read all (82 so far) the comments to this one. I'M HAPPY TO SAY THAT THIS IS THE BEST BUNCH OF GRAMMATICALLY CORRECT COMMENTS BY AN INDIAN AUDIENCE. Adding my 2 cents to the 'SRT is the greatest' debate: NO HE ISN'T. Growing up in the 90s, I was a massive fan of SRT, I could've matched any of u fans in his adulation. Things started to change when he always took you to the brink of victory but never across the finish line. NO PLAYER HAS GIVEN A HIGHER NUMBER & % OF HEARTACHES TO AN INDIAN THAN SRT. I've observed people say 'He's won us MANY tests' - Really? @mrmonty foolishly asks us to subtract his score. Why keep him in the team then? Someone like M Vijay or Jaffer could've made those runs. SRT is a technically solid man but he isn't a matchwinner. Everybody has their flaws - this is his. Still love him. Everybody contributes; VS & VVS win games.

  • shaantanu on October 7, 2010, 12:03 GMT

    guess we need more ppl like Meety in these forums than ppl who start comparing players at the drop of a hat......players and team alike should be admired when its really due.i mean aussies sud be admired as a cricketing nation for all their achievements on the field rather than being critisized as is done by most posters.....i believe we indians do admire the aussie fighting spirit thts why victories against them are most cherished ones......i dont think such a victory against say WI wud have provoked so many responses as this one.

  • Guruprasad.S on October 7, 2010, 10:56 GMT

    @Emancipator007: No bias against Gang. But Gang couldnt have given up captaincy in favour of his batting, because he wouldnt be in the team in the first place !! Gang did his job well up to India's win over Pak in Pak (2004). After that, Gang's batting starting falling apart. In home series against Aus (2004) and Pak (2005), Gang's batting was pathetic. It was Greg's brutal assessment that forced Gang to go back and improve his batting. Sachin and Rahul could afford to give up captaincy in favour of batting, because their batting had not gone as bad as Gang's and because, there were no contenders yet for their places. Gang was the weakest link in India's middle order, and Yuvi was gunning for his place. Gang's place in India's cricket history is assured because of his captaincy, but batting-wise, he overstayed in the Indian TEST team by a year and a half. No questions about his importance in India's ODI team. In Fleming's case, again, NZ had no batsman to challenge Flem for his place.

  • on October 8, 2010, 14:53 GMT

    don't bring Stats.. We are talking about VVS .. Stats doesn't reflect his greatness.. his skills.. his class.. watching him bat is just a feeling that can't be described, his technique is just impeccable..! he's a one of the most underrated player of post 90 era.

  • thisisashish on October 8, 2010, 13:14 GMT

    I guess the reason why Sachin almost never has saved a test match in a crisis is that there is no crisis in the first place when he plays well.

  • anfour on October 8, 2010, 12:28 GMT

    As important as it is to contribute to the 4th innings as Laxman did,the 2nd innings is also important.2nd inningsis where the foundation is laid for a win.As many of u hav said Sachin may not hav contributed to the 4th innings but he scored a 98 in the 2nd innings which laid a foundation for an indian win in 4th innings.I cannot understand why people r nt criticising Sehwag or Dravid for underperforming in the 4th innings but only Sachin.Moreover Sachin was the 2nd highest topscorer in the 4th innings.While Sachin is expected to score highly in both innings,Laxman can escape scoring a 73 in the 4th innings but scoring only 2 in the 2nd innings.Laxman not contributing was the reason that india had a 23 run deficit after 2nd innings.

  • jackiethepen on October 8, 2010, 11:09 GMT

    Cook is certainly likely to overtake Laxman in the 100s department if he solves his technical problems, but surely a closer comparison is with Bell who also is a beautiful batsman to watch and has batted at his best at 5/6. Laxman batted 14 years for his 16 tons and is now aged 35 with an average of 47. Bell is 7 years his junior and already has 11 tons with an average of 42. As a batsman Bell is now entering the prime time of an international cricketer and is likely to surpass Laxman's average. Since returning to Test Cricket Bell averages 53 for example. While looking at the greats of India, Australia and South Africa it is as well to look back to their stats at the age of 26-28 to compare them with Cook and Bell. I am a great admirer by the way of Laxman, Dravid and Tendulkar and of course Ganguly when he was playing. Truly a Fab Four.

  • Remus_Lupin on October 8, 2010, 2:50 GMT

    VVS & SRT anaylysis in tough situations (4th inn chase or tough draw) VVS-1) 66 vs AUS in Chennai in 4th inn chase of 155 all others failed 2) 74 vs WI in Port of Spain in 3rd inn when India were 4/56 resulted in Win 3)154 vs WI in Kolkata in 3rd inn with 1st inn deficit of 150 runs after India were 4/85 helped draw 4)67 vs NZ in Mohali in 3 rd inn to avoid inn defeat after India were 3/18 5)69 vs AUS in 3rd innings on a Mumbai minefield resulted in win 6)73 vs SA in J'berg in 3rd inn on pacy/bouncy pitch resulted in Win 7)79 vs AUS in Perth in 3rd inn to take India from 160/6 to 294 resulted in Win 8)103 vs SL in Colombo in 4th inn chase of 258 after India were 4/60 9)73 in this match SRT-1)92 vs ENG in Trent Bridge in 3rd inn after deficit of 300 runs helped draw 2)176 vs WI in Kolkata in 4th inn to after 1st inn deficit of 150 runs after India were 4/85 helped draw 3)55 vs AUS in 3rd inn on a Mumbai minefield 4)103 agnst ENG in Chennai in 4th inn chase of 387 5)54 vs SL in Colombo

  • on October 7, 2010, 21:14 GMT

    Why do people keep fighting over who's better in the Indian line up? I feel privileged to be part of a generation which saw Sachin, Rahul, VVS, Dada and Viru among others. Get well soon Soumik and Akash

  • Akash.S on October 7, 2010, 14:25 GMT

    @Soumik. Righly said. Except 103* in Chennai against England, SRT has nothing to show that he can win or draw Test Matches as well. And that match also we won bcoz of rocking 83 (in 68 balls) by Sehwag and then quickfire 85* by Yuvraj. SRT did contributed to the win but did not win match on its own. I am still not sure why he is selected in All Time India XI. He is no where near to Laxman, Dravid and Sehwag. He has always played for records and this is no hidden truth.

  • Go_F.Alonso on October 7, 2010, 12:03 GMT

    An indication to how much I've enjoyed this innings by Laxman is not just that I've read all the articles on Cricinfo but also that I've read all (82 so far) the comments to this one. I'M HAPPY TO SAY THAT THIS IS THE BEST BUNCH OF GRAMMATICALLY CORRECT COMMENTS BY AN INDIAN AUDIENCE. Adding my 2 cents to the 'SRT is the greatest' debate: NO HE ISN'T. Growing up in the 90s, I was a massive fan of SRT, I could've matched any of u fans in his adulation. Things started to change when he always took you to the brink of victory but never across the finish line. NO PLAYER HAS GIVEN A HIGHER NUMBER & % OF HEARTACHES TO AN INDIAN THAN SRT. I've observed people say 'He's won us MANY tests' - Really? @mrmonty foolishly asks us to subtract his score. Why keep him in the team then? Someone like M Vijay or Jaffer could've made those runs. SRT is a technically solid man but he isn't a matchwinner. Everybody has their flaws - this is his. Still love him. Everybody contributes; VS & VVS win games.

  • shaantanu on October 7, 2010, 12:03 GMT

    guess we need more ppl like Meety in these forums than ppl who start comparing players at the drop of a hat......players and team alike should be admired when its really due.i mean aussies sud be admired as a cricketing nation for all their achievements on the field rather than being critisized as is done by most posters.....i believe we indians do admire the aussie fighting spirit thts why victories against them are most cherished ones......i dont think such a victory against say WI wud have provoked so many responses as this one.

  • Guruprasad.S on October 7, 2010, 10:56 GMT

    @Emancipator007: No bias against Gang. But Gang couldnt have given up captaincy in favour of his batting, because he wouldnt be in the team in the first place !! Gang did his job well up to India's win over Pak in Pak (2004). After that, Gang's batting starting falling apart. In home series against Aus (2004) and Pak (2005), Gang's batting was pathetic. It was Greg's brutal assessment that forced Gang to go back and improve his batting. Sachin and Rahul could afford to give up captaincy in favour of batting, because their batting had not gone as bad as Gang's and because, there were no contenders yet for their places. Gang was the weakest link in India's middle order, and Yuvi was gunning for his place. Gang's place in India's cricket history is assured because of his captaincy, but batting-wise, he overstayed in the Indian TEST team by a year and a half. No questions about his importance in India's ODI team. In Fleming's case, again, NZ had no batsman to challenge Flem for his place.

  • KAIRAVA on October 7, 2010, 10:28 GMT

    I want VVS Laxman to continue playing until his test batting average reaches 50. Currently, it is 47.40. However good a player is, in modern times the greatness of a batsman tends to be measured in terms of his batting average.

    Laxman's matchwinning 73 was remarkable, so was his 4th innings hundred vs Sri Lanka. But I am afraid that 20 to 25 years down the lane, fans would remember Laxman for his one knock only, the epic 281. So, if he has to etch a place in cricket enthusiasts memory, he has to reach the cutoff batting average of 50.

  • amitava0112 on October 7, 2010, 10:22 GMT

    Continued....Natwest final.2002..cheaply out..while Viru,Sourav,Yuvi,Kaif contributed. Ind v Pak last test 2006..series level..could not contribute much in this all imp game..test & series lost, patchy batting in series v Aus & SA as capt.99-2000..both series lost heavily..only two 4th inngs winning masterpieces I can recall..100no v Eng 2008 to win test on 4th inngs pitch chasing 380 (of course after Virus rollicking 87) & 50-odd v Aus Mumbai 2004 partnering VVS on a killer pitch…VVS & Viru in their far shorter careers have got more significant performances helping in winning games .(some of VVSs masterpieces I ve already mentioned in my previous comments.. Make no mistake SRT fans..for me he is a great & performed V well v Aus-the best side during his career..i do not believe he plays for records consiously.. but my only criticism of him is that as a great player he always has not delivered consistently in crunch games..which VVS & Viru did more often.

  • amitava0112 on October 7, 2010, 10:20 GMT

    Cricfanatic..nice to note that u agree entirely with me but I never mentioned that Sachin plays for records(attn:mrmonty)..He is an alltime great ..& is in my espncricinfo WorldXI (at no 4 after much thought instead of Viv Richards)by sheer strength of his records,longevity(21yrs-no joke) & his winning performances since Dec 2008. His bright spots: 119 in Manchester to save test at age 18,148no at Sydney '91-test drawn,114 at Perth'91- test lost,fabulous batting v Eng'93,Aus '98 at home to win test series(not vs full strength bowling I guess)..desert storm v Aus 98,epic 136 with sore back v Pak Chennai'99-but test lost, big 100 in test in Eng 2002 to win test(Wall & Dada also scored big in that game), But lets also face a few facts: Greats are expected to fire in big matches..World cup 2003 final v Aus..he scored 4, (Viru 82),Ind v Pak 2005 Bangalore test ..he needed to bat for maybe another 2 hrs to draw the test..was dismissed for 11 & series was levelled..contd for space constraint

  • Guruprasad.S on October 7, 2010, 8:13 GMT

    We are indeed lucky to have such bona fide greats as Sach, Lax, Dravid and Viru all playing at the same time, and Kumble and Gang some time before. Sometimes, a comment made by a fellow fan can really get us pumping, and we rush to react, although we realize that we love all these players more or less equally for what they have done over a period of time. I do believe in Lax's superior mental make-up in tough situations, but I regret my words 'Sachin's match losing 136'. OMG, what an innings it was, and what a tragic end for an Indian fan. And yet none could have felt the pain that Sach would have felt. I am not sure if the pain will go away over his lifetime. That he goes about his business in spite of such morale-shattering setbacks says a lot about Sach. I hope that we just enjoy these geniuses at work. And lets not forget Australia for bringing fight into every test match that they play. No surprises that some of the most exciting tests involve Aus on one side.

  • theswami on October 7, 2010, 7:53 GMT

    Laxman is supposed to be the great-nephew of India's most scholarly President, The philosopher Dr.Sarevepalli Radhakrishnan, and he brings with him the exact same qualities of High moral value, ethics, determination, hard work & a penchant for his job Surely the best ever cricketer among the current lot in terms of humanity.

  • sunrisesinwest on October 7, 2010, 2:52 GMT

    Laxman has undoubtly once again shown why he is very very special. But the thing I dont get is why many people (including a lot of comments in this forum) have to always compare people. Just savour this moment and look forward to the next and India is no 1 because of greats like Sehwag, Dravid, Tend, VVS...

    Unfortunately most people seem to get caught up on why VVS is better than Sachin or Y is better than Z ....bottomline is that India have currently the best batting line up in the world..enjoy it while it lasts and the beauty is every batsman is a matchwinner and a great in his own right!

  • BrianCharlesVivek on October 7, 2010, 2:52 GMT

    @Guruprasad. S Brilliant answer to Ankur Gupta and the points about Ganguly. Another user had said about mere statistics in these 20 years. thats also true. Sambit Bal may not have chosen Laxman in his 11 ,but in the cricinfo profile he writes that Lax in his pomp might sometimes even better the strokeplay of Tendulkar. @Ankur GUpta, you are right, Laxman and Brian Lara are better batsmen in tests than Tendulkar. The memorable match saving/match winnings of Tendulkar are 177 & 136 & 103 in chennai, 248 & 194 in Multan and 180 against WI in Kolkata.

    Laxman has better ones than these nad has been a major contribuotr in all these and even better...

  • nzcricket174 on October 7, 2010, 2:29 GMT

    Laxman is just another amazing batsman living under Tendulkar's shadow. He is one of the greatest batsman of our time, but few outside of India truly know his greatness. Speaking of mental strength,if scoring double century is an extraordinary feat, then to score one in the situation India was in back in 2001 must be out of this world. If you don't know what I'm talking about, go search for his innings against Australia on Youtube. I don't see anyone else achieving this.

  • Skaul on October 7, 2010, 2:28 GMT

    Laxman should bat at no.3 instead of Dravid because Dravid is starting to lose his form while VVS is just getting better day by day. Dravid should try batting at no.5 and see how that goes.

  • Meety on October 7, 2010, 1:51 GMT

    @amit1807kuwait - too true. I am an Aussie and I am sick of Laxman!!! Why can't he unleash his carnage on other nations? Because of him I've had to watch the Commonwealth Games for some ego stroking - not happy! I always believed that Laxman should of opened in ODIs, maybe replaced once Sehwag fully came on the scene, but definately the opener through 2003 to 2007. I admire SRT, but as an Aussie I truly fear what Laxman can do, from the moment I saw him hit that 160 @ the SCG in a lost caused - everyone else including SRT folded meekly. @hakunamatata11 - true, he is admired in Oz, we will have a celebration when he retires though, albeit tinged with some sadness! In regards batting order, if the Indian side was selected by Oz selecters, VVS would bat @ 3. I think Dravid @ 3 was good when you don't have good openers, so he was seen as a stop gap between the openers & middle order, this is negative. Real intent is have someone who takes back the momentum. (I rate Dravid highly though)

  • arvin on October 7, 2010, 1:43 GMT

    whatever media and cricket expert say laxman mostly plays for himself... even in mohali all he was trying to do was remain not out by taking a single of first ball and exposing #10 sharma for next 5 deliveries for most of their 22 overs partnership... if ur main batsman who was not even running and plays 20% of deliveries leaving the l#10 batsman to face 80% of deliveries in a situation like this it can only be called 'very very selfish' inning... MATCH WAS WON BY SHARMA ... PLAIN AND SIMPLE...

  • on October 7, 2010, 0:57 GMT

    What Laxman did for the match at Mohali, or for that matter making excellent contributions in 4th innings at very difficult times, is just marvellous and extraordinary.

    I still wonder why he has not been named as 'Player of the Match' for Mohali, if not for him, India would definitely lose the match.

    When everything is falling/ failing in front of your eyes, it is extremely difficult to maintain balance, focus and of all, the courage to defend and win. His life just demonstrates that quality which is flatly missing from the rest of the players.

    Hope BCCI, Media and community will give him due respect for his commitment and contributions to the team and country.

  • kmgnath on October 7, 2010, 0:56 GMT

    Hats off to VVS, he is simply superb. He provided us with the greatest test matches to talk about for rest of our lives. I couldn't able to get out off my seat for the last 2 hours of the mohaly mach. Till the last minute, all the three results are possible. My heart goes for Australia as well, they played well, but only one winner. VVS is very under treated cricketer for his performane. He sacrificed #3 slot for Dravid, which he always like. Is it the time to provide #3 for VVS, or still go with this winning combination. Can we increase the milage of VVS for few more years by getting him fit. As Sastry mentioned 80% fit VVS much better than others.

  • Emancipator007 on October 7, 2010, 0:47 GMT

    In a Greg Chappell-dominated regime b/w 2005-2007, Gang would not have been allowed to boss around to play at no.5 in Tests. For the record, Gang was acknowledged the best Indian Test player during the tours of South Africa and England (importantly proving that without captaincy, he was almost as 'good' in Tests as the big 2) after his miraculous comeback in end 2006 by Ian Chappell -indisputably the most unbiased cricket analyst going around(he has lampooned even Don Bradman on issues when necessary without being politically correct). Even Sanjay Manjrekar known for his bias against Gang maintained Ganguly alone among the big 4 was showing no signs of ageing in his batting skills at 35. Given that Yuvraj and Raina (bound to fail on overseas tours outside the subcontinent) have hardly done enough after Gang's forced ouster in 2008, am betting Ganguly for all his "inconsistency "- as you put it - would have ended up with 9000 Test runs (which he desperately wanted to achieve) by now.

  • Emancipator007 on October 7, 2010, 0:43 GMT

    @Guruprasad.S, some inaccuracies in your post (hope not as a result of some 'purported' bias towards Ganguly). If Gang had been more selfish he would have given up captaincy to concentrate on his batting like SRT and Dravid did -but much like Stephen Fleming did for NZ, he preferred the role of building nascent "Team India" (quite in disarray after 2000) and let his batting skills and form dip horribly -which did lead to him being insecure about his place due to the pressures of the demanding Indian fans. It is on record that it WAS Wright (in the typical Caucasian -trained mindset of seeking multi-skilled ODI players) who plonked for Mongia; just that Ganguly did not fight hard enough for Lax as he did for other players during his reign. Gang always had 2 strings to his bow in ODIs (his skilled and shrewd medium-pace bowling) - to go with his awesome batting, scoring 10,000 ODI runs in nine years, faster than one veritable ODI legend SRT.CONTD.

  • Emancipator007 on October 7, 2010, 0:21 GMT

    with technical virtuosity and classical defense (a la Gavaskar, Jack Hobbs and maybe even Dravid and Kallis) to be the consummate batsman he still is today -21 years later. Yes, I have been piqued at times at SRT's zeal in looking to accumulate certain records (which even Richard Hadlee was accused of, but look at his impact on the New Zealand team's fortunes in the 80s), but he is INARGUABLY the most complete batsman ever - better than the statistically greatest batsman of all time. Read @Aditya Mookerjee's comment below about VVS and SRT ; eloquently put about 2 distinctive styles of 2 batsmen both of whom adorn the jeweled Indian batting order . Viru, The Wall, SRT, VVS- has history ever seen such an accomplished, entertaining and stylish quartet playing at the same time? @Semoli ; good points about VVS and Gang, though VVS could have been pushed up to no . 3 the moment Dravid unquestionably lost his assuredness and solidity post 2007.

  • rishabhnanda on October 7, 2010, 0:17 GMT

    @Soumik... its not even funny how you could ever comment on the GREAT SRT like that... Laxman does not come close to SRT... even though this match and to Laxman's credit.. many more matches that he has won... that number is not even a fraction of the games SRT has won.... which is why.. rightfully Sachin has all records... and when u speak about how in future we will remember Sehwag.. laxman... zaheer... dravid.... and not sachin... i think u count only urself in that "we"... as i feel.... whenever the word cricket is heard or taken by anyone... the first person who comes to mind is... the great SACHIN TENDULKAR.... and when i say "we"... i speak for people throughout the world.... not just india... so get ur act together and respect the legend...

  • Emancipator007 on October 7, 2010, 0:14 GMT

    Am astonished that people would want to diss one SR Tendulkar (or even Sehwag who is a once-in-a-lifetime game -changing Test opener ) just to praise and highlight Lax's batting prowess and mental strength. It's not Lax's (or even Dravid's) fault that he is playing in SRT's era; it has happened with WI great Gordon Greenidge playing in Viv Richards' shadow, Rohan Kanhai (rated as the best player of fast bowling throughout his career) playing during Sobers' pomp or even recently Aussie stylist Damien Martin being unsung in Mark Waugh's era. Folks and those in their 20s, try and watch Tend's batting videos (widely available, I am sure ) when he was b/w 16-21 with 21 being the age at which most talented and prodigious batsmen make their Test debuts. You will never see a player that talented in cricket history ever playing at the top most level and when pace attacks were still potent; that same player has over time married that luminescence and extraordinary skills CONTD.

  • on October 7, 2010, 0:12 GMT

    Im seeing here so many comments about VVS and how special he's. It's good he rose to the occassion and performed well, not the first though. And read ppl accusing Rahul Dravid for occupying no.3 for long, there were times when Rahul came in no.6 and Laxman at no.3, but Rahul wasn't consistentl in that position, so swapped with Lax again. But to summarise, India won/drawn many matches with contributions vastly from Rahul, Sachin, Ganguly, Laxman and last but not least Sehwag during the last 10 years. Hatsoff to the all above.

  • mrmonty on October 6, 2010, 22:41 GMT

    You have to admire us (Indian fans) to wade into an unnecessary argument for the sake of it. The article a tribute to Laxman, whose contribution to the win and team's cause is undeniable. But, to say he is a better match-winner than Tendulkar and other sundry arguments in ludicrous.

    Let's take this game's scorecard for example. If SRT plays for records and statistics (@Soumik and @Amitava), let's subtract his score of 98 and 38 from the scorecard and let's think if the game is winnable then. You see my point.. Every player has a role in the team and they do it the way their talent, skills and temperament allows. Don't diminish a player just because you have an opinion one is better than the other. To people questioning SRT's contributions, think who was the only player of class in the team for the entire 90's?

  • on October 6, 2010, 22:34 GMT

    @ Rohit-Gore - are you serious? Gavaskar has cricketing acumen? Yes, he was a great batsman (perhaps better than Tendulkar, considering the bowlers he faced and the conditions he played in) but as a commentator he is absolute rubbish. He makes Bill Lawry sound measured and reasonable in his comments. I just wish Fox Sports here in Australia would provide funding for Australian commentators like Mark Waugh, Damian Fleming and Brendon Julian so we don't have to listen to the dribble emanating from Gvaskar, Shivaramakrishnan and that muppet Ravi Shastri!

  • Crikfanatic on October 6, 2010, 21:43 GMT

    Couldn't agree with amitava0112 anymore. Laxman has won more test matches than any other current Indian batsman. Afterall winning is what counts....than individual records, hope you what I mean :-)

  • on October 6, 2010, 20:59 GMT

    @Soumik I dont agree with you.We wait for Sachin to make a fightback and score 175 runs even though wickets are falling around him.We watch Sachin to held his end up when the ball is swinging treacherously against Pakistan in 2006 so that Yuvraj and Dhoni can smash them in the end overs.We wait for Sachin to play those uppercuts at 145 k deliveries.and We still wait for Sachin to carry his bat until the game is won.Laxman and Tendulkar are the most elegant looking batsmen in the current side and Laxman is the most unsung guy in this team.Iam very happy that he is making his presence felt in a big way.

  • amitava0112 on October 6, 2010, 19:26 GMT

    VVS-take a bow..281 v aus 2001-kolkata,65 & 66 v Aus Chennai 2001, 148 v aus 2003-adelaide,69 v Aus Mumbai 2004, 73 v Aus Perth 2007, 73no v Aus Mohali 2010..punched in between by match winnig inngs v SA,NZ,SL..probably Australia's greatest tormentor after Ian Botham in 80s..well said amit1807kuwait..With all due respect to Dravid & Sachin..the 2 greats..I wud say Sehwag & Laxman are two greatest matchwinners amongst present lot of Ind batsmen by some distance..for the last 10 years on consistent basis..Sachin has started winning games only in last couple of yrs after his desert storm in 1998 v Aus. VVS should surely have been in espncricinfos best all time India test XI..he was in my XI..Sehwag on his day destroys all opponents while others..dravid,sachin etc hardly gets noticed while Viru is in full flow..VVS on other hand is India all time great batter in 2ndinngs.& should bat higher than 5-6..he deserved more test 100s by now..& who said ODI & T20 is better than Test cricket?

  • Semoli on October 6, 2010, 19:12 GMT

    An ideal # 3 is one who can bat in any pitch in the world by giving solidity or can attack at around 75%+ strike rate. Rahul Dravid was the best we had because he was assured on any pitch in the world and gave solidity after our dodgy openers (we used to have an opening problem remember!). He was very consistent and his strike rate was around 50%. VVS would have been a great #3 but early in his career, he was guilty of giving away his wicked against lesser opponents. He only brought his A game against the best. VVS is a potential great and might have become one if he was given the space. Ganguly had a perennial problem against short pitch bowling and never batted with the same assurance on all pitches that is expected of a # 3. These guys if given a chance might have developed the steel (VVS) and technique (Ganguly) in time, but Rahul never gave them that chance. To be end of debate.

  • on October 6, 2010, 19:08 GMT

    Whenever the word Gentlemen comes to the mind in connection with this game, instantaneously two names appear: Anil Kumble and VVS Laxman. These are the real gentlemen: on the field and off the field. I think the current lot can learn a lot more than just the game from these two.

  • kriskingle on October 6, 2010, 17:25 GMT

    Two points I wish to make:

    1) Even though every one, quite rightly, is acting all surprised about Laxman's ugly verbal outburst at Ojha, as ugly as any of his innings in T20 cricket, that incident showcases an aspect of his game which is usually lost in the flowery descriptions of his batting-his desire to win. This tirade only happened because of his helplessness at being unable to control proceedings at the crease. Ojha, or anybody else for that matter, need not take umbrage at that. As uncharacteristic and unseemly the outburst was, Laxman once again showed his gentlemanly character when he revealed that he had apologized at the end of the over, not even at the end of the match. 2) Not only does it appear unfair for Laxman to be omitted from the all-time greatest Indian team, another travesty was committed when he was left out of the World XI against Australia.

  • on October 6, 2010, 16:59 GMT

    It is a moot point: whether Laxman can be punished for abusing Ojha. The last person who will take offence will be Pragyan himself for he will know sometimes anger and abuse are the expression of how much one cares. It will be the very height of stupidity (or depth?) to even think of such a course. But given how ICC functions and how some vindictive men like Mike Denness had functioned, i wont be surprised if that happens. It will be a day when teh spirit of cricket will die and the letter of law will prevail.

  • BabaKR on October 6, 2010, 16:49 GMT

    Laxman with all his Special and Match Winning Knocks should have been chosen in the all time India XI. With his record against Australia and West Indies and also being the 4th highest scorer in Test Matches there is no away that one should ignore him.One need not wait for another two years and it would be in order if ESPC Cricinfo rectifies its earlier decision.

  • soumik on October 6, 2010, 15:00 GMT

    In future,when we'll remember the current India team (like we do for Lloyd's WI or Waugh's AUS), we'll remember Sehwag for the sheer pace at which he scored runs to make most of the Indian victories possible (road to number 1),will remember Dravid for the solidity he gave to the Indian batting line up,will remember Laxman for his innumerable heroics and unparalleled craftsmanship,will remember Zaheer for his lethal reverse-swing but we'll always have to fall back to statistics to measure the contribution made by great SRT.Such is the irony of life.After playing 20 years of international cricket everything that will remain of SRT is statistics.We don't waste our time watching cricket to see another record or another milestone set or broken.We crave for moments like this.Kudos..VVS.. for keeping us engaged.Who cares for mere statistics?

  • gudolerhum on October 6, 2010, 14:46 GMT

    I have never seen VVS live - I hope that I get that privilege in the near future. He is one of the geniuses of the modern era.

  • on October 6, 2010, 14:26 GMT

    @Kunal-Talgeri, Rahul Dravid is not in the best of form off-late, hands down. Unquestionable is his talent and his ability to holf forte. This wont be the 1st time if VVS would be promoted to No. 3. Recollect your thoughts back to the famous Kolkata test against Australia. VVS was promoted then to attack the Aussies right from the word GO. The reason VVS doesn't make a cut to the All Time India X1 is because he falls short of innings, hundreds and records. The same is the case with Ganguly who also denounced his position at No. 3 where he too enjoyed a handsome average to accomodate "the Rock" and truly great Dravid. But I feel No. 3 should be based on current form, opposition and match situation. Sorry mate, I agree with our friend @Emancipator007's views here....

  • hkrishna31 on October 6, 2010, 14:25 GMT

    @Rohit-Gore- Against all other teams The top order makes tons of runs(most of the time), but against Australia they collapse and laxman's rescue act follows. So Aussies fear him rather than others, Other teams do not know him that much. Also the reason laxman's 2nd innings avg is more, because Indian batting in general collapses in pressure situations only laxman is adept at handling

  • on October 6, 2010, 14:16 GMT

    Fully agree to what @Emancipator007 has said about positions in the Indian batting line up. I always used to believe that No. 3 position would be based on current form of the batsman and the confidence he exuberates encourages other batsmen around him. Before Rahul Dravid established himself as the unanimous no. 3, both VVS / Saurav Ganguly were in great contention for that spot. Both VVS's and Saurav's batting record at No. 3 is enviable. I remember the famous Kolkata test where VVS piled on the runs. Rahul Dravid was asked to bat at No. 6 and that helped ultimately the Indian team as he along with VVS piled on the runs. Currently Dravid is not in the best of form, so why do you want to deprive a player of Laxman's class from enjoying the coveted No. 3 position and attack Australians from the very beginning. We will keep Rahul Dravid to hold the forte along with the tail.

  • BrianCharlesVivek on October 6, 2010, 14:13 GMT

    A poetical player described by a poetical writer. I wish to See Sambit Bal as a cricket commentator...This was an exceptional innings by an exceptional player , and descibed the same way in this article...

  • MADDY_INURHEART on October 6, 2010, 14:11 GMT

    though I am not brave enough to advocate Laxman's (sorry for great must be added to his name now onwards, so Great Laxman's) inclusion in oneday or 20-20 squad, even when he can possibly prove his crictics wrong in those formats as well; but what I want to put forward is that we always praise tailender handling of elder waugh, brilliance of Bevan, finishing skills of Hussey, greatness of Sir Sobers and counter attacks of Gilchrist and Sir Botham, but now onwards we should consider the pressure handling of Laxman right at Top in that list. a player who deserves to be in any all time XI just for this Very very special quality let alone his batting!!!!!!!!!

  • Mark00 on October 6, 2010, 13:54 GMT

    Certainly the most talented Indian player I've seen. If Laxman had Tendulkar's focus and determination, he'd be averaging 70 or more.

    When he's in the mood, there's currently not a bowler in the world who can seriously threaten him.

    Again, it comes down to his "mood."

  • Guruprasad.S on October 6, 2010, 13:41 GMT

    @Gupta.Ankur: Answer this: What will Sachin himself give to play an innings like VVS did at Mohali ? The feeling of taking your team through the threshold of victory against quality opposition, under severe pressure, is something that VVS has enjoyed more often than Sachin. Period. A lot was made of Sachin's bad back in his match-losing 136 against Pak in 1999. Lax was in a similar situation in Mohali with even lesser support. But Lax came out a winner. Lax's mental strength in such situations is superior to Sach's. Period. Lax game and focus sharpens in tough situations, while Sach plays risky/low-percent strokes like uppercut/paddle-sweep and gets out. VVS has at least THREE such defining innings: Kolkata, Colombo and Mohali. Sach has only his 103 against Eng in Chennai to show, and there too Yuvi score nearly the same (80+). Nobody questions Sachin's contribution, but Lax and Dravid stand taller than Sachin under test match pressure. You get this right once and for all.

  • cgkirtikar on October 6, 2010, 13:38 GMT

    Guess we can safely say that barring their world cup performances this decade (which have been a little short of disastrous) the last decade has been sort of a golden period for the Indian team. Comes as no surprise that some of the best batsmen ever to play for India have featured in our top and middle order ! Take a bow, Sachin, Rahul, VVS, Ganguly, Sehwag ! These players are easily the entire cricketing world's envy and India's pride ! Privileged to have seen this team in action in my lifetime ! Just imagining what heights our team can / could have/ still might touch with a genuine fast bowling / spinning allrounder or two !! My heartiest congratulations to VVS and his team !! Superb !!

  • TruSport on October 6, 2010, 13:27 GMT

    The sublime batting and mental resolution apart, the most admirable quality of Laxman is complete lack of indecency. He brings all his traditional (south) Indian values to the park. He has never been involved in any controversy - never has thrown tantrums. He just does his job the best that he can, is committed 100% to the cause of the team. Rarely does one get to see such decency in a world where indecency seems to be the norm - where people are complemented for "getting under the nerve of the opponents.

  • AdityaMookerjee on October 6, 2010, 13:23 GMT

    V V S Laxman is a breed of batsman, whose personality is not important to his batting, but whose personality shines because his batting is a product of his sensibility, and personality. When I see him play an on-drive, I say, "What a heroic batsman!". When I see his modest demeanor, I say, "What a contrast his body language is, apart from his batting!" We admire Sachin Tendulkar, because we see the beauty in the perfection of his batting. On the other hand, we admire Laxman, because we see the perfection in the beauty of his batting. Even when he is bowled by a delivery, one is tempted to watch him, rather than the delivery, which dismisses him. Because of this, one faults him, more than one praises the delivery, on his dismissal.

  • gerardpereira20 on October 6, 2010, 13:16 GMT

    Nobody can have any doubts that Laxman is a great batsman, fortunately and unfortunately he has played his cricket in a period that has thrown up some extraordinary Indian batsmen namely Messers Shewag, Tendulkar, Dravid , Ganguly, and Dhoni. Shewag the butcher, Tendulkar the master, Dravid the wall, Ganguly the In your face captain who dragged Indian cricket into the 21st century, and Dhoni India's flamboyant wicket keeper. Fortunately for Laxman this has taken the pressure of him and let him get on with his business unnoticed in the back ground. Unfortunately for him playing with this generation of Indian players has meant that he does not get the kudos his talent richly deserves. Laxman will however always be remembered however as the nemesis of a great Australian team.

  • Guruprasad.S on October 6, 2010, 13:12 GMT

    @Emancipator007: You have a point about Laxman being a thorough gentleman. Laxman's prime years were spent batting at no.6. During 1996-2000, the presence of Azhar and Ganguly meant that Lax had to open the innings. From 2000-2007, Ganguly bossed the no. 5 position, in spite of his inconsistent batting and non-performance against good opposition. This left Lax with the tail. Inspite of all this Lax has made his contribution. Cant blame Dravid and Sach, because they performed consistently in all conditions. It was primarily Ganguly, whose selfishness and machinations left Laxman with no choice but to bat at no. 6. Ganguly also forced Lax out of 2003 world cup, that too in favour of Dinesh Mongia's fielding and left arm spin. What a waste. What horrified me was that coach John Wright didnt fight for Lax's inclusion, when he could tolerate Ganguly's poor fielding and running. Dravid has said that choosing Yuvraj instead of Lax was the hardest decision of his captaincy. Well done Lax !

  • manasvi_lingam on October 6, 2010, 12:52 GMT

    Laxman is India's only 2nd innings specialist as of now. Just as Sehwag is horrible in the 2nd innings, but good in the 1st innings, Laxman is almost equally consistent in both. And he is one of the best players around when it comes to playing with the tail and he reminds me of Steve Waugh who was a great player with the tail, though both of them use contrasting styles.

  • hillstars on October 6, 2010, 12:28 GMT

    Good work Sambit but I do feel you might be selling him short by camparing the number of hundreds against an opener. "A man of his talent and temperament should have more than 16 hundreds from 114 Tests. Alastair Cook has 13 from 60". This is misleading to a novice cricket reader, its easy to assume Alaister Cook to be some sort of a cricket legend. Number of century comparison against other greats who have batted in the position of 5 or 6 would have been more informative. Very Very Special is an under statement of the man .. long live the legend

  • ladycricfan on October 6, 2010, 11:58 GMT

    The pace Laxman scored his runs, his innings is good enough in a T20 match. He should be added to the ODI world cup team in place of one of the youngsters.

  • on October 6, 2010, 11:58 GMT

    its really thrilling win which will be remembered long . hats of to LAXMAN.He proved again that he is match winner

  • Kunal-Talgeri on October 6, 2010, 11:28 GMT

    @ Emancipator007: Why would you want to lose a strokemaker of Laxman's class in the early overs of an innings? Strokemakers should be preserved to accelerate. Which is why in my view, Dravid has often been a blessing to lay the foundation for Sachin and Laxman who follow. Isn't that a holy middle-order to be proud of? I don't think any of them have been holy cows. They deserve to play in their positions and complement each other. Bear in mind that Laxman used to be an opener, and it wasn't good for him and India to lose such a fine placer of the ball, early. Also, he is probably the finest finisher in the Test format.

  • Rohit-Gore on October 6, 2010, 11:14 GMT

    (Continued from last comment) I believe a great player is defined by the fear he induces in the opposition team. If a majority of teams fear you, you are a great player. If everyone fears you, your are Bradman or Tendulkar or Richards or Lara. Laxman, and I feel he is the 'maker of the great innings' , wasn't feared by all the opposition teams. Primarily because they were always more worried of Tendulkar, Dravid, and in the last six years, Sehwag. England and South Africa might not have lost sleep over bowling to him, though he has had a great impact on the lone Indian win in South Africa (the 73, yes again, that he made in Jo'burg with the tail is perhaps the most important innings played by an Indian in all the tests against South Africa). Pakistan, too. Another reason, as rightly pointed by Sambit is his position in a dominant batting order. One big exception - Australia, and much has been said about that, so won't add more to it.

  • Rohit-Gore on October 6, 2010, 11:13 GMT

    I have heard Ian Chappell and Sunil Gavaskar, two people with perhaps the best cricketing acumen, say that the hallmark of a great batsman is the look of him. If I were to define this 'look' then it would be the way a batsman plays his shots, the time he has to play his shots, the number of times he plays the shots and the return he gets on the shots. If a Martian or an American was to apply this definition and look at all the batsmen of the last 20 years, VVS Laxman would feature in his top 10 list. Then why doesn't he get the label of a 'great'? Curious, because, people like Mark Waugh, Inzamam Ul Haq, David Gower, even Kevin Pietersen (he is in the all time England 11, isn't he?) are labelled greats. (continued...)

  • bearebel on October 6, 2010, 10:57 GMT

    @Aussi1 Tendulkar has been opening for India for long and he has always done his part as an opener. You don't expect an opener to go through the whole match. He has made India won a lot of matches batting in middle order. Example India Srilanka series in which he scored a hundred and won the match for India.

  • on October 6, 2010, 10:48 GMT

    Only Laxman could have pulled it off the way he did!

  • on October 6, 2010, 10:48 GMT

    Test cricket has become more interesting in the past 2 decades with more result oriented matches than draws of the earlier eras. To an extent playing other formats like ODIs and T20s has a positive impact on Test Matches with players being more aggressive in their approach. Kudos to both teams Australia and India for treating us with a fantastic match of Test Cricket. Long live test cricket!!

  • Notout_Naveen on October 6, 2010, 10:30 GMT

    Though he was always regarded high as a batsmen for some reason he was not considered for 2003 worldcup and he was even excluded in the cricinfo India all time test 11 .

    But Laxman has taken all this in his stride and performed whenever India needed him the most.

    All his best test knocks have come against better opposition at critical circumstances. Thats why he is very very special batsmen.

    Hats off to Laxman for this performance.

  • on October 6, 2010, 10:28 GMT

    Just loved the way he blasted Ojha...a rare scene in Indian cricket, emotions displayed by Laxman...Laxman=RelaxedMan

  • Ellis on October 6, 2010, 10:14 GMT

    To me, in VVS Laxman resides all the grace and splendour of the art of Indian batsmanship. Watching him bat, a visitor from another planet would never understand why we think batsmanship is a difficult art.The exquisite use of wrists in the manner that he does, is quintessentially Indian. A truly great batsman, and, it appears, a decent human being. Not an always frequent combination.

  • rk1966 on October 6, 2010, 9:58 GMT

    One important point about Laxman's extraordinary innings has not been properly highlighted by the media. The speed at which he made the runs under pressure. If he had done it SLOWER IT MAY HAVE COST THE MATCH FOR INDIA as he would have run out of partners before the target was reached.

  • sbharath82 on October 6, 2010, 9:16 GMT

    Well said. Kudos to VVS for an achievement very few can boast of in today's world. Its this nerves of steel he possesses which makes him VERY VERY SPECIAL. Needless to say that we are all so proud/lucky to have him in INDIAN team.

  • on October 6, 2010, 9:16 GMT

    Haha.. just loved all the comments.. excepts ankur's.. no one is comparing him to sachin..

    VVS has been one of my fav players for ever (to start maybe because of regional bias..!!) but each innings he plays.. the respect grows..

    And him shouting at Ojha (who looked totally shocked at the outburst.. on top pf the pressure) was him showing, that he is only human.. and people need to remember that next time they call for his head before he decides to retire

    And one day selection.. mm i'm not sure..

  • gerardpereira20 on October 6, 2010, 9:07 GMT

    What should be of grave concern to India is That apart from Laxman none of the other Indian batsmen including Sachin Tendulkar seen to able to either win a test or save a test when batting in the fourth innings. Ok, Sachin did it once in Chennai. But all of them try to manufacture shots under pressure when what is called for is a cool a calm accumulation of runs playing low risk shots. Ishant looked in no trouble at all and correct me if I am wrong he has no great credentials as a batsman. So it begs the question if Ishant could do why couldn't the others? I am equally puzzled as to why the BCCI is against the referral system because India always comes of worst when it comes to umperining decisions (remember Sidney). It would have been a travesty of justice had India lost due to a dubious umpiring decision against Ishant. Cometh the moment cometh the man, Thank god for Laxman

  • hakunamatata11 on October 6, 2010, 8:56 GMT

    To those comments regarding a National Holiday in Australia when Laxman retires I agree but not to celebrate the end of a thorn in thier side for so long but because of the deepest respect they have for him.

    THe fighting qualities he has proven against them only endears him more and more to the Aussie cricket purests. He is one player who has consitantly stood up to them and succeeded and especially when the chips have been down.

    John Wright was asked about coaching VVX during his days as the Indian Coach and he said that he felt like bowing everytime he walked past and there was nothing he could teach him about batting.

  • nara2 on October 6, 2010, 8:31 GMT

    I do agree, if not for the ist innings score from Dravid, Tendla & Raina , the victory would have too far fetched

  • nikita_karthick on October 6, 2010, 8:28 GMT

    Laxman deserves a place in not only Indian XI but also in all time World XI.

  • ani_che on October 6, 2010, 8:26 GMT

    the only complaint i have towards laxman is sometimes,he is too nice.i can't believe how shabbily he has been treated for years.robbed of three world cups - in favour of players like sadagopan ramesh,amay khurasia,dinesh mongia,sanjay bangar,robin uthappa and mohammed kaif!!and will ppl stop comparing our own jewels?i don't see a reason why i should give rankings to sachin,rahul,viru and vvs.the very fact that each one is a different kind of genius only makes me prouder!lax has been treated very shabbily by indians themselves and is the greatest cricketer to be born in an LOI/ODI-crazy era and yet not play in a world cup,despite having the credentials.despite the fact that he should have played ahead of sourav in the odi batting order and despite having his odi career ended during sourav's tenure,he was the 1st to lift sourav on his shoulders when he was retiring!that's VVS 4u!

  • Najja on October 6, 2010, 8:23 GMT

    Like Bapuji's (Mahatma Gandhi) last words were "Hey Ram", Pontings last words will most probably be "Hey Laxman"

  • Jelanichem on October 6, 2010, 8:16 GMT

    There is no doubt in my mind that if Laxman had batted at number 3 instead of Dravid throughout his career, he would have been a greater player at number 3 than Dravid is. I remembered watching Laxman bat with an old cricketer friend of mine, and after watching Laxman stroked his way to 30 runs, my friend said to me, "thats the most skillfull batsman on the Indian side, its a pity no one in the Idian selection panel has recognized that and bat him where he truly deserves to bat".

    Sachin has made a pile of runs and I will never say Laxman is a greater player. But how does one measure greatness? By tonnes of runs scored or under the conditions in which one makes ones runs? Laxman is great for me, but statitistically he is not, because statistics does not consider how one makes ones runs.

  • Longmemory on October 6, 2010, 8:13 GMT

    I hate to say this but I fear knocks like VVS' and test matches like this one are all we'll have left to remember in a few years' time. The juggernaut of the instant game will take over and five day test matches will fall by the wayside. All the more important then to cherish players like VVS and matches like this one. The manufactured tension of the one-dayers and the frenetic activity of T-20 are a poor substitute for what the final day at Mohali produced.

  • Bratpack on October 6, 2010, 7:39 GMT

    @gupta.ankur.. Just one question for you mate. When has tendulkar played and won a match for india when the team is in crisis ??

  • sandeep1978 on October 6, 2010, 7:29 GMT

    Look,it was a great knock by laxman and all credit it him. But i hope all this nonsense of him being the most unsung cricketer in te team does not start again . The fact is whenever he has performed he has got more than his share of credit.Be it kolkatta, sri lanka or mohali.He just wasn't consistent enogh in the middle period. Which was his last great innings before the srilanka one? The kolkatta innings. He was given the one down position after the calcutta test but he didnt seize the oppurtunity. So dont say he has been mistreated by one and all..

  • Crictragic1 on October 6, 2010, 7:23 GMT

    Ah...what a privilege to see a genius in action. Whatever the cricket annals will say, based on aggregates and averages - we, South Asians, are so lucky to see and savour this brilliance, repeated so many times. He is indeed my most favourite cricketer... a touch ahead of Tendulkar.

  • on October 6, 2010, 7:06 GMT

    truly great inninds from laxman.......... THE INJURED TIGER....... cheers from pakistan for laxman.......

  • SAJN on October 6, 2010, 7:04 GMT

    VVS is great ! Its a treat to watch him bat. But what about Ponting's captaincy? At a very delicate stage of the match using part-time bowlers like Watson & North was simply mind boggling. Had there been a Pakistan's captain, an immediate inquiry/investigation from ICC would have started for suspected match-fixing. ICC policies are seriously flawed with discrimination towards certain members and appalling double standards.

  • on October 6, 2010, 6:32 GMT

    "The day laxman retires from test cricket, it will be a national hoilday in Australia"

  • Iftekharul_Hasan_Siam on October 6, 2010, 6:29 GMT

    i think its tym to consider vvs laxman once again for one-day squad. whether BCCI make him play or not. he should be given sum opportunities to perform in ODIs.

  • Rydham on October 6, 2010, 6:12 GMT

    @ Emancipator007 : Well said ... Dravid should come at No.6 as his continuous failure at the crucial No.3 puts the team in the pressure. We need a wall at No.3 ... if he is Dravid then ok but if he is Laxman then probably better now-a-days. Also correctly identified the problem of fewer 100s of Ganguly and Laxman as compared to other greats due to the batting slot. It is high time for the team management to think of this in future series. Team requirement is important but personal milestones also matters a lot !! There should be a proper mix of both !!

  • Bhaggie on October 6, 2010, 6:01 GMT

    VVS in Kolkota in 2001 and in Mohali yesterday will go down as India's finest hour in Test cricket.His opponents seem to appreciate him rather than his compatriots.It is his fate that even as a specialist batsman he has to come in at No.6,and having delivered at critical moments in that position,in the company of the most daunting batting line up in the world,is in itself a tremendous achievement. Yesterday was more memorable than 2001 in that Ishant being wrongly adjudged out,but Ojha getting a reprieve,escaping a narrow run out,and the overthrow for 4,all added to the adrenaline.Test cricket,nay, cricket at its best! And a word of appreciation for Ishant,who,many a times knows not where the stumps stand.

  • amit1807kuwait on October 6, 2010, 5:58 GMT

    Australia will declare a national holiday the day VVS retires :-)

  • sweetspot on October 6, 2010, 5:57 GMT

    It was great not just to see this fantastic innings from Laxman, but also his open outburst against Ojha, bat raised and everything. To me, it was a perfectly human moment, and one filled with love really, for the immense job he and Ojha were doing. For a master to admonish a rookie is in itself a beautiful thing, and something that in this world of political correctness, we are seeing less and less of. It is not negative. It is an intense passing of knowledge that should not be argued against. In that outburst, Ojha might have been momentarily stunned, but the young man knew shortly later the joy of winning in the company of an illustrious master, and the other run like a rabbit rascal Raina who jumped as if he hit the winning runs himself. Raina's contribution in the second innings was 0, but he rampaged all over the Aussie bowling in the first. Young Cricket India could not ask for anything better, not to forget Ishant's larger than life innings.

  • on October 6, 2010, 5:41 GMT

    Us Indians have so much passion for cricket. For a 24 year old like me, I couldn't have asked for a better childhood with Tendulkar accumulating runs through my teens, with Sehwag demolishing quality bowlers with unorthodoxy and Laxman bringing us hope whenever he comes out to bat in the 4th innings. With VVS's class, it is difficult to look at the batting and not appreciate its sheer beauty. Yesterday, 2 balls from Johnson, bowled a feet outside off-stump, got radically different treatments - one was eased through the covers and the other was turned between 2 short mid-wickets. To say that Yousuf Pathan's sixes are better than any moment in this 5 day marathon just proves ignorance.

  • Kunal-Talgeri on October 6, 2010, 5:39 GMT

    Laxman scolding Ojha was such a beautifully humane moment. I was laughing away, seeing a typically Indian reaction to a moment of madness. :-) Really loved the finishing moments. Everybody made errors, Australians, Indians, commentators... and Laxman was so compact. How does he do it?

  • Biophysicist on October 6, 2010, 5:35 GMT

    Mr. Sambit Bal, you imply that Laxman might make it to the all-time India XI if the exercise (of selecting the XI) is repeated a couple of years from now. I have seen that you also did not vote for Laxman despite his outstanding performances and consistency between the first and second innings. Importantly, his match winning 4th innings in Srilanka was also played before the anouncement of that XI. You guys say something in your articles and vote in a different manner when it comes to giving your preferences. I don't see much difference between you people and Gavaskar's BUNCH OF JOKERS. As far as I am concerned (and I am sure it is true for many of the followers of Indian cricket, VVS Laxman is a certainty in the all-time India XI. In I remember right, the Cricinfo readers preferred Laxman in the middle order. However, I could not find the reader's all-time India XI on your site, whereas the reader's XIs for most of the other countries were there. The readers WI XI is also not there.

  • Gupta.Ankur on October 6, 2010, 5:20 GMT

    I hope people don't get carried away and start calling him better than Tendulkar......Every guy who scores runs when sachin doesn't is put on a pedestial higher than even him in media...

    I hope common sense prevails

  • ram_sachin on October 6, 2010, 5:12 GMT

    So full of feelings were those final moments, which laxman almost hit Ojha. Would cherish all my life, the scene. Literally the match was on knife-edge, which Laxman and Sharma saw us through. Salute to Both of them and to the bat of Laxman too, which almost had Ojha's head to it. : )

  • Emancipator007 on October 6, 2010, 5:09 GMT

    This brings me to the point why India no. 3 and no. 4 positions in Test cricket are always sacrosanct irrespective of form of the incumbents or team situations. Not one Indian analyst/commentator wants to bell the holy cows Dravid and Tendulkar - no doubting their undisputed Test greatness and credentials here. Of course as against Dravid's free fall in recent times , Tendulkar has had only few blips in a longer career . But Gary Sobers pushed himself down the order during the last stages of his career. Allan Border always sacrificed his favored batting positions for the sake of the team and the process of team building thru the 80s and early 90s. Dravid should have been pushed down the order the moment his game fell away quite alarmingly in the past few seasons. This can still be done for the NZ Test matches in India and the tour of SA. Similarly, Tendulkar should come 1 down or play at 4 in ODIs if the team management feels that and Sehwag make a better ODI opening combination.

  • Emancipator007 on October 6, 2010, 5:01 GMT

    Laxman is genteel and gentle to a fault. Even though he has had major misgivings about Ganguly and coach John Wright keeping him out of the 2003 ODI World Cup and also with captain Dravid for not pushing his case for inclusion in ODIs, he has never once let that affect his equations with them or his cause for Team India. His feeling apologetic immediately after his rare show of misdemeanor at Ojha is in keeping with his gentleman persona. The Big 3 -Gang, Tendulkar and Dravid -have had their differences with each other and been petulant about their grouses in the past but no can point a finger at Laxman for skullduggery or machinations undermining Team India. Sambit, Ganguly had alluded to this fact about Laxman and him missing out on a fair, few Test hundreds due to their latter order batting positions and the presence of always wobbly tail enders during much of their careers (incidentally Ganguly had a stupendous average at no. 4 in Tests). CONTD.

  • 11Noobs on October 6, 2010, 4:37 GMT

    The way Lamxan continues to trash the Australians every time they meet is almost unbelievable. He is an Australia specialist!

  • Vivek.Bhandari on October 6, 2010, 4:11 GMT

    yeah..the title sums it all...steel beneath silk...the 'steel', in fact, started to show its mettle during the closing stages...was watching the highlights last night and really was amazed to see Laxman showing his anger towards Ojha...n how he was egging both Raina and Ojha to convert few singles into twos...

    in hindsight, it's good that he plays only Test cricket as the Circus cricket does not deserve Laxman anyways...

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  • Vivek.Bhandari on October 6, 2010, 4:11 GMT

    yeah..the title sums it all...steel beneath silk...the 'steel', in fact, started to show its mettle during the closing stages...was watching the highlights last night and really was amazed to see Laxman showing his anger towards Ojha...n how he was egging both Raina and Ojha to convert few singles into twos...

    in hindsight, it's good that he plays only Test cricket as the Circus cricket does not deserve Laxman anyways...

  • 11Noobs on October 6, 2010, 4:37 GMT

    The way Lamxan continues to trash the Australians every time they meet is almost unbelievable. He is an Australia specialist!

  • Emancipator007 on October 6, 2010, 5:01 GMT

    Laxman is genteel and gentle to a fault. Even though he has had major misgivings about Ganguly and coach John Wright keeping him out of the 2003 ODI World Cup and also with captain Dravid for not pushing his case for inclusion in ODIs, he has never once let that affect his equations with them or his cause for Team India. His feeling apologetic immediately after his rare show of misdemeanor at Ojha is in keeping with his gentleman persona. The Big 3 -Gang, Tendulkar and Dravid -have had their differences with each other and been petulant about their grouses in the past but no can point a finger at Laxman for skullduggery or machinations undermining Team India. Sambit, Ganguly had alluded to this fact about Laxman and him missing out on a fair, few Test hundreds due to their latter order batting positions and the presence of always wobbly tail enders during much of their careers (incidentally Ganguly had a stupendous average at no. 4 in Tests). CONTD.

  • Emancipator007 on October 6, 2010, 5:09 GMT

    This brings me to the point why India no. 3 and no. 4 positions in Test cricket are always sacrosanct irrespective of form of the incumbents or team situations. Not one Indian analyst/commentator wants to bell the holy cows Dravid and Tendulkar - no doubting their undisputed Test greatness and credentials here. Of course as against Dravid's free fall in recent times , Tendulkar has had only few blips in a longer career . But Gary Sobers pushed himself down the order during the last stages of his career. Allan Border always sacrificed his favored batting positions for the sake of the team and the process of team building thru the 80s and early 90s. Dravid should have been pushed down the order the moment his game fell away quite alarmingly in the past few seasons. This can still be done for the NZ Test matches in India and the tour of SA. Similarly, Tendulkar should come 1 down or play at 4 in ODIs if the team management feels that and Sehwag make a better ODI opening combination.

  • ram_sachin on October 6, 2010, 5:12 GMT

    So full of feelings were those final moments, which laxman almost hit Ojha. Would cherish all my life, the scene. Literally the match was on knife-edge, which Laxman and Sharma saw us through. Salute to Both of them and to the bat of Laxman too, which almost had Ojha's head to it. : )

  • Gupta.Ankur on October 6, 2010, 5:20 GMT

    I hope people don't get carried away and start calling him better than Tendulkar......Every guy who scores runs when sachin doesn't is put on a pedestial higher than even him in media...

    I hope common sense prevails

  • Biophysicist on October 6, 2010, 5:35 GMT

    Mr. Sambit Bal, you imply that Laxman might make it to the all-time India XI if the exercise (of selecting the XI) is repeated a couple of years from now. I have seen that you also did not vote for Laxman despite his outstanding performances and consistency between the first and second innings. Importantly, his match winning 4th innings in Srilanka was also played before the anouncement of that XI. You guys say something in your articles and vote in a different manner when it comes to giving your preferences. I don't see much difference between you people and Gavaskar's BUNCH OF JOKERS. As far as I am concerned (and I am sure it is true for many of the followers of Indian cricket, VVS Laxman is a certainty in the all-time India XI. In I remember right, the Cricinfo readers preferred Laxman in the middle order. However, I could not find the reader's all-time India XI on your site, whereas the reader's XIs for most of the other countries were there. The readers WI XI is also not there.

  • Kunal-Talgeri on October 6, 2010, 5:39 GMT

    Laxman scolding Ojha was such a beautifully humane moment. I was laughing away, seeing a typically Indian reaction to a moment of madness. :-) Really loved the finishing moments. Everybody made errors, Australians, Indians, commentators... and Laxman was so compact. How does he do it?

  • on October 6, 2010, 5:41 GMT

    Us Indians have so much passion for cricket. For a 24 year old like me, I couldn't have asked for a better childhood with Tendulkar accumulating runs through my teens, with Sehwag demolishing quality bowlers with unorthodoxy and Laxman bringing us hope whenever he comes out to bat in the 4th innings. With VVS's class, it is difficult to look at the batting and not appreciate its sheer beauty. Yesterday, 2 balls from Johnson, bowled a feet outside off-stump, got radically different treatments - one was eased through the covers and the other was turned between 2 short mid-wickets. To say that Yousuf Pathan's sixes are better than any moment in this 5 day marathon just proves ignorance.

  • sweetspot on October 6, 2010, 5:57 GMT

    It was great not just to see this fantastic innings from Laxman, but also his open outburst against Ojha, bat raised and everything. To me, it was a perfectly human moment, and one filled with love really, for the immense job he and Ojha were doing. For a master to admonish a rookie is in itself a beautiful thing, and something that in this world of political correctness, we are seeing less and less of. It is not negative. It is an intense passing of knowledge that should not be argued against. In that outburst, Ojha might have been momentarily stunned, but the young man knew shortly later the joy of winning in the company of an illustrious master, and the other run like a rabbit rascal Raina who jumped as if he hit the winning runs himself. Raina's contribution in the second innings was 0, but he rampaged all over the Aussie bowling in the first. Young Cricket India could not ask for anything better, not to forget Ishant's larger than life innings.