October 7, 2010

The genius and the doubter

VVS Laxman is an artist whose strength lies not in his artistry but in his competitive spirit, a batsman who needs adversity to unleash the giant within
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VVS Laxman has joined Brian Lara on the short list of modern batsmen whose mastery extends to fourth-innings chases and whose masterpieces include memorable innings played in precisely those circumstances. Where Lara wove spells, Laxman waxed lyrical. Some of the game's greatest batsmen have altered in this very position: a match to win or lose upon a stroke, a ground expectant, the bowlers and fieldsmen pressing with every fibre in their bodies. It is a cricketing form of high noon.

Laxman's decisive contribution in Mohali deserves almost as much recognition as Lara's magnificent innings in Barbados all those years ago. As far as this correspondent is concerned, anyhow, that puts it in a category almost of its own. Not to say it was the greatest innings played. Probably it's not in the top 20 in recent times in that regard. After all, the pitch was still playing well, the bowling was handy as opposed to harmful, and it was neither an unusually long or exceptionally large innings. Its quality lay in its context; in isolation it was superb, in the circumstances it was magnificent.

Lara's last-day effort was a lone hand played by a desperate captain trying to protect his position and rally his troops in about equal measure. It was a commanding display that gradually lured Bajans from their shops and offices, so that towards the end a carnival atmosphere prevailed. It was a virtuous innings by a remarkable cricketer, the sort of contribution India wants its champion to make more often.

Control was the cornerstone of Lara's performance. His hands erupting onto the ball, his feet nimble in their quest for position, eyes darting for a gap, mind assessing every delivery, Lara sustained his team's hopes and crushed Australians' aspirations. Simply, he was in a class of his own. A mediocre team depended on him, and this time he responded. Beyond doubt it was a tour de force.

Laxman's tone was slightly different. From afar he looked like an iceman, at any rate until he started waving his arms at and berating a partner unaware of his intentions in the matter of stolen singles. Suddenly Laxman's passions were obvious, his sense that the match hung upon a thread and that a little mistake, a moment of madness, an oversight, any of them could bring India down just as victory came within reach. If anything, his solitary outburst added to the quality of the performance. He knew the stakes well enough, and the dangers, and still he did not make a single mistake.

Bear in mind, too, that Laxman was nursing an agitated back, which had prevented him batting properly in the first innings or without a runner in this dig. Indeed the Australians were not obliged to permit him an assistant. After all, he had ricked his back in the previous Test, in Sri Lanka. Ricky Ponting could have argued that he had brought the injury into the match, and the umpires could hardly have disagreed. But he did not stoop. By and large Australians don't try to stop the other team winning.

From the moment he arrived at the crease, Laxman looked in charge of himself and the bowling. The Australians had managed to ruffle up a few of the other batsmen and later did the same to the tailenders. But Laxman is above all this nonsense about lifters; he regards them as long hops and smacks them to the boundary. Australians do not go on much about him because they don't have a clear idea of how to get him out. Virender Sehwag is vulnerable to lifters, they reckon, and Tendulkar can be trapped leg-before. Both have patchy records in the fourth innings. But Laxman? What on earth are Australians supposed to do with him? He looks and sometimes bats like a colossus. Indeed, cricket's most hostile opponents bring out the best in him.

Laxman's game is built on superb strokeplay but his mind is replete with doubt. Against weaker opponents he potters around like a spinster in a cluttered home. He knows rivals can smash this sort of bowling about, but dares not take the same risk himself. He is a Prufrock worrying about his trousers. He becomes a hack, a humdrum batsman trying to boost his figures. As soon as Laxman starts to think about averages he becomes average. It is not his way, does not serve him well.

And then the Australians arrive with their unrelenting aggression and withering tongues, or so legend insists. Suddenly Laxman is transformed, like a bird released from a cage. Now he is in his element. He knows the rest, the challengers, cannot cope. And so he started laying about himself with cultured and well-chosen strokes. In a trice the giant within is unleashed.

Add the challenge of a fourth-innings chase and he becomes a truly great batsman. It is the final release. All inhibitions cast aside, the competitor and idealist come to the fore. At heart he is a musketeer. And so it proved in Mohali.

Once the main batsmen had departed, Tendulkar to a foolish stroke, MS Dhoni in a chaotic run-out blamed upon Suresh Raina, a runner who seemed as dangerous to the Indian cause as any Australian bowler, Laxman took the match on his own shoulders. Throughout he organised the strategy. As usual in this situation, the fielding captain had pushed his men back for the main batsman, a tactic that works about as well as invading Russia or Afghanistan. Laxman was not encouraged to take risks and so waited for chances to drive, flick or pull boundaries, and otherwise stroke the ball around.

Laxman's game is built on superb strokeplay but his mind is replete with doubt. Against weaker opponents he potters around like a spinster in a cluttered home. He knows rivals can smash this sort of bowling about, but dares not take the same risk himself. He is a Prufrock worrying about his trousers

Crucially he decided to take every run on offer, at any rate until Mitchell Johnson summoned a fierce spell with a dozen or so runs needed for victory. Laxman realised India could not win unless the tailenders played their parts, sensed he could not score all the 80 runs, could not do it alone. Trusting Ishant Sharma, another strong-minded cricketer with an excellent temperament, he took singles at the start of the over. Indeed, Ishant faced more deliveries in the partnership than Laxman. Since the field was up for him, he was also able to score his share of the required runs.

Australia's tactics were questionable. Pushing the field back for Laxman meant that the runs kept flowing. Maiden overs were almost impossible. As a result the batsmen were never forced to press. If anything, the Australians over-attacked Ishant, allowing him to score soft runs. Several times Ishant was able to push Marcus North into the covers and take runs. North is a part-timer. Ponting did not prey enough on the batsmen's nerves. Admittedly he did not have a top-class spinner at his disposal, and towards the end he lost Doug Bollinger. Australia might hereafter be reluctant to allow players to take part in 20-over matches on another continent a few days before the start of a Test series.

Laxman did not falter. Often the last few runs are the hardest to collect. Suddenly victory is in reach. Suddenly there is a match to lose, not win. Ishant's unlucky departure did not seem to worry Laxman.

India almost paid a heavy price for their ridiculous refusal to use the UDRS. Apparently the senior batsmen object to it. Sehwag is the exception. It seems the rest don't like the UDRS telling them they are out. More fool them. Let them use their bats not their pads, let them think about the game and the umpires and fair play.

Of course, the UDRS would certainly have overturned Billy Bowden's error in denying an lbw with the last pair at the crease. To make matters worse, four overthrows were given away in the same incident. Both umpires started the match very well and ended badly. It was hot and they were tired. All the more reason to give them a helping hand.

Laxman was not to be denied. In full flight he is a hard man to stop. He stood at square leg as the appeal was turned down, stood again as the next ball flew from pad towards long leg, urged both partners to run, and raised his arms as, finally, the deed was done. It was a thrilling end to a tight match. India had found their champion. Laxman had confirmed his standing in the game. His career has been a compelling tale of greatness remaining locked away in the mind till the call comes and then emerging and laying waste before retreating back into its shell. As far as cricket is concerned Laxman is a warrior by instinct and a man of peace by manner. The conflict has made his career fascinating and frustrating. His genius is peculiar and requires the most particular conditions. His greatness lies in the fact that those conditions are the toughest not the easiest. He is an artist whose strength lies not in his artistry but in his competitive spirit.

Peter Roebuck is a former captain of Somerset and the author, most recently, of In It to Win It

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on October 9, 2010, 9:50 GMT

    Do you guys ever get tired of praising India over and over and over and over again?

  • Cool_Jeeves on October 9, 2010, 4:06 GMT

    He however failed in the last test of the series when Thompson's absence presented an opportunity to record a series win in a 5 match series after being 0-2 down. His 221 against England was a titanic performance, and the rest of the team could not invent a way of scoring 50 runs in 10 overs with 6 wickets left, after such heroism. However even in that innings, footage shows that as Gavaskar walks off, he accepts handshakes, with a smile. It was a smile of satisfaction at his own performance, since surely he could not have imagined India winning without him at the crease, once Botham smelled blood. His other chases are well documented (102 against WI, 96 against Pak, 90 in the tied test). Hence barring the odd occasion, he ALWAYS raised his game under pressure -- 96 against Pak was on a wretched wicket, but came after a very poor performance in a dead wicket in Jaipur in the previous match. Alas he played in a forgotten era. Laxman (the best of the current lot) has a long way to go.

  • Cool_Jeeves on October 9, 2010, 3:58 GMT

    Laxman is definitely the most courageous batsman in the Indian team, besides being a supremely gifted player. But in my books Gavaskar was miles ahead. It is worth pointing out that had India taken the last 2 West Indies wickets, his 220 in the second innings of his 4th test (he scored a 100 in the first innings also) would well have ranked right alongside Laxman's 281. He similarly scored 137 following a first innings hundred in Karachi, and a glance at the scorecard would confirm this as another outstanding solo effort. He cracked three straight second innings centuries against Australia, against whom, despite their having only Thomson among mainstream players, the Indian team played without any self assurance...contd

  • jay57870 on October 9, 2010, 0:44 GMT

    Continued. Result: Ricky's team was "outplayed" (his own words). The match was a close loss, when they possibly could have won it. Ricky must be second-guessing his strategy (or lack of it). Finally, I agree that the time has come for UDRS to be instituted in India. While everyone argues about the two botched calls at the end of the game, the biggest one might well have been the erroneous Gambhir LBW decision to start the 4th inning. Lesson: UDRS aside, we need improved umpiring as well. The umpire was hasty with his index finger in a tight match. He could have paused, pondered, even consulted: in this case the inside edge; or given the benefit of the doubt to the batsman. As for Gambhir, who knows how this wounded warrior might have performed given the chance? For sure, Ricky can rest assured with the knowledge that he won't have to face Gambhir or Ishant (and perhaps the eternal nemesis VVS) in Bangalore. It promises to be another competitive Test between two great rivals. Enjoy it

  • jay57870 on October 9, 2010, 0:22 GMT

    Peter, you are right on track regarding the "genius" of VVS Laxman. However, the "doubter" label could have been used on someone else: Ricky Ponting. He won the toss but wasted it as his side plodded for almost two days, without showing their typical "play hard to win" desire. Ricky himself got outhustled by Raina (run-out). This perhaps was the turning point of the game, as he made an uncharted detour toward the huddling Indians, brandishing his bat at Zaheer for something he said (Usain Bolt?). This "foolish stroke" (more than Sachin's) acted like a boomerang: It fired up the Indian team. Their batsmen gave a fitting reply. And then the bowling took over, led by (not surprisingly) Zaheer, the Man of the Match to boot. And then came the 4th inning heroics, especially from the aroused wounded warriors, VVS and Ishant. Lesson: Beware of wounded warriors. They fight back. Aside: Contrast the comic relief of VVS' outburst at Ojha versus Ricky's toxic taste of his own medicine. TBC.

  • on October 8, 2010, 21:45 GMT

    Given the situation, sachin's shot is not the best. he should have played more responsbly. others too. laxman showed valor. everyone has rights to critisize n praise the game n players. so dont be sachinmaniac.

  • on October 8, 2010, 20:56 GMT

    everybody points out dat ojha was clearly lbw but nobody says dat ishant was not out........so even dat time ian gould was sleepy......as for da article its nice

  • on October 8, 2010, 18:50 GMT

    Laxman batting style is so much like how I behave in real life. When easy situations come in my life where I dont have to stress too much I randomly shout or abuse someone just for the heck of it but when Adversity strikes or deadlines come then the real me comes in the picture multitasking faster than the supercomputer much to the amazement of others:)

  • isot on October 8, 2010, 17:32 GMT

    All those who say that Sachin has cared more for individual records...why do u forget the '90s Indian team which relied entirely on Sachin to win us a match.Steve Waugh even said once that they did not lose a match to India but lost it to one man (Sachin). In an era when all other major cricketers in the team dirtied themselves with match fixing, he was the lone saint that stood loyal to the country's cause. Is all this care for individual records? Not contributions to the team? And of all the tons of tons of runs he scored, did they not go to the team? There are instances (like vs Pakistan) where even in the fourth innings Sachin did play a master innings but the team lost. These are not just counted as great only because the team lost. This I dont think is fair. And maybe if Sachin were to come much down the order, he would have had more number of opportunities to encounter situations as those.

  • not20plz on October 8, 2010, 17:20 GMT

    If the author can clarify how many times has brian lara played a fourth innnings match winning innings apart from 153* against Australia. Never understood the fascination with Lara whose 4th innings average is 35 and has played only one genuine match winning innings

  • on October 9, 2010, 9:50 GMT

    Do you guys ever get tired of praising India over and over and over and over again?

  • Cool_Jeeves on October 9, 2010, 4:06 GMT

    He however failed in the last test of the series when Thompson's absence presented an opportunity to record a series win in a 5 match series after being 0-2 down. His 221 against England was a titanic performance, and the rest of the team could not invent a way of scoring 50 runs in 10 overs with 6 wickets left, after such heroism. However even in that innings, footage shows that as Gavaskar walks off, he accepts handshakes, with a smile. It was a smile of satisfaction at his own performance, since surely he could not have imagined India winning without him at the crease, once Botham smelled blood. His other chases are well documented (102 against WI, 96 against Pak, 90 in the tied test). Hence barring the odd occasion, he ALWAYS raised his game under pressure -- 96 against Pak was on a wretched wicket, but came after a very poor performance in a dead wicket in Jaipur in the previous match. Alas he played in a forgotten era. Laxman (the best of the current lot) has a long way to go.

  • Cool_Jeeves on October 9, 2010, 3:58 GMT

    Laxman is definitely the most courageous batsman in the Indian team, besides being a supremely gifted player. But in my books Gavaskar was miles ahead. It is worth pointing out that had India taken the last 2 West Indies wickets, his 220 in the second innings of his 4th test (he scored a 100 in the first innings also) would well have ranked right alongside Laxman's 281. He similarly scored 137 following a first innings hundred in Karachi, and a glance at the scorecard would confirm this as another outstanding solo effort. He cracked three straight second innings centuries against Australia, against whom, despite their having only Thomson among mainstream players, the Indian team played without any self assurance...contd

  • jay57870 on October 9, 2010, 0:44 GMT

    Continued. Result: Ricky's team was "outplayed" (his own words). The match was a close loss, when they possibly could have won it. Ricky must be second-guessing his strategy (or lack of it). Finally, I agree that the time has come for UDRS to be instituted in India. While everyone argues about the two botched calls at the end of the game, the biggest one might well have been the erroneous Gambhir LBW decision to start the 4th inning. Lesson: UDRS aside, we need improved umpiring as well. The umpire was hasty with his index finger in a tight match. He could have paused, pondered, even consulted: in this case the inside edge; or given the benefit of the doubt to the batsman. As for Gambhir, who knows how this wounded warrior might have performed given the chance? For sure, Ricky can rest assured with the knowledge that he won't have to face Gambhir or Ishant (and perhaps the eternal nemesis VVS) in Bangalore. It promises to be another competitive Test between two great rivals. Enjoy it

  • jay57870 on October 9, 2010, 0:22 GMT

    Peter, you are right on track regarding the "genius" of VVS Laxman. However, the "doubter" label could have been used on someone else: Ricky Ponting. He won the toss but wasted it as his side plodded for almost two days, without showing their typical "play hard to win" desire. Ricky himself got outhustled by Raina (run-out). This perhaps was the turning point of the game, as he made an uncharted detour toward the huddling Indians, brandishing his bat at Zaheer for something he said (Usain Bolt?). This "foolish stroke" (more than Sachin's) acted like a boomerang: It fired up the Indian team. Their batsmen gave a fitting reply. And then the bowling took over, led by (not surprisingly) Zaheer, the Man of the Match to boot. And then came the 4th inning heroics, especially from the aroused wounded warriors, VVS and Ishant. Lesson: Beware of wounded warriors. They fight back. Aside: Contrast the comic relief of VVS' outburst at Ojha versus Ricky's toxic taste of his own medicine. TBC.

  • on October 8, 2010, 21:45 GMT

    Given the situation, sachin's shot is not the best. he should have played more responsbly. others too. laxman showed valor. everyone has rights to critisize n praise the game n players. so dont be sachinmaniac.

  • on October 8, 2010, 20:56 GMT

    everybody points out dat ojha was clearly lbw but nobody says dat ishant was not out........so even dat time ian gould was sleepy......as for da article its nice

  • on October 8, 2010, 18:50 GMT

    Laxman batting style is so much like how I behave in real life. When easy situations come in my life where I dont have to stress too much I randomly shout or abuse someone just for the heck of it but when Adversity strikes or deadlines come then the real me comes in the picture multitasking faster than the supercomputer much to the amazement of others:)

  • isot on October 8, 2010, 17:32 GMT

    All those who say that Sachin has cared more for individual records...why do u forget the '90s Indian team which relied entirely on Sachin to win us a match.Steve Waugh even said once that they did not lose a match to India but lost it to one man (Sachin). In an era when all other major cricketers in the team dirtied themselves with match fixing, he was the lone saint that stood loyal to the country's cause. Is all this care for individual records? Not contributions to the team? And of all the tons of tons of runs he scored, did they not go to the team? There are instances (like vs Pakistan) where even in the fourth innings Sachin did play a master innings but the team lost. These are not just counted as great only because the team lost. This I dont think is fair. And maybe if Sachin were to come much down the order, he would have had more number of opportunities to encounter situations as those.

  • not20plz on October 8, 2010, 17:20 GMT

    If the author can clarify how many times has brian lara played a fourth innnings match winning innings apart from 153* against Australia. Never understood the fascination with Lara whose 4th innings average is 35 and has played only one genuine match winning innings

  • manasvi_lingam on October 8, 2010, 17:04 GMT

    India has had only two batsmen in modern times who can win matches on difficult pitches. One was Dravid between 2001-06 and Laxman from 2008-onwards. Sachin doesn't win matches in Tests and Sehwag can win matches but he only does that on flat tracks.

  • Sri7 on October 8, 2010, 16:30 GMT

    Great article. Your theory might be false .. but I have been thinking on similar lines for quite some time. Laxman seems he carries a load on him more due to his uncertain space in Indian team (not anylonger, but now much can't be re-written). Laxman without such insecurities is absolute marvel. Take out the competition to retain his place in team factor and you get to see the wonder that is Laxman. India was blessed with so much middle order riches that it had to push Laxman down the order and also keep his place insecure. What would have helped Laxman was to have given him a place in one day squad. As he was seen unfit for one format, he always would have felt the axe hanging over him in test format as well (during those days when fab four were still not yet the legends they are now).

    The article from "Laxman's game is built on superb" till "And so it proved in Mohali." is superb .. I feel this is true and I am 100% Laxman WON'T agree. That's Lax for you.

  • memoriesofthepast on October 8, 2010, 16:28 GMT

    Australians try their level best to stop the opponent team from winning- Aus is the only team to have been involved in the only two tied tests one of which was in India in 1986. Captain Greg Chappell asked his bowler Trevor Chapell to deliver an underarm ball as the last ball of a onedayer against New Zealand to stop them from winning. 3rd test against Lanka ended on 7th August and then Laxman was back home. Mohali test started on 1st October and on day 1 Laxman was fieldingand even caught Tim Paine on day 2. On day 3 he was unable to bat at no.6 and came at no10 and gave an easy catch, just scoring 2 runs-it was due to a stiff back. Day 4 he was not on the field and came to bat only after Khan got out on day 5. How can he carry a stiff back before this test started?

  • jay57870 on October 8, 2010, 16:17 GMT

    Continued. Result: Ricky's team was "outplayed." The match was close and his side lost, when they could have won it. Ricky must be second-guessing his strategy (or lack of it) for this match. Finally, I agree that the time for UDRS in India has come. While everyone is talking about the botched calls at the end of the game, the bigger one might well have been the erroneous Gambhir LBW decision to start the 4th inning. Lesson: UDRS aside, we need improved umpiring as well. Umpire Gould was too quick with his index finger. He could have waited, pondered, even consulted. Umpires should do what they can to remove any doubt -- in this case, the inside edge. As for Gambhir, who knows what this brave wounded warrior might have done? For sure, Ricky can take comfort in the knowledge, without doubt, that he won't have to face Gambhir or Ishant in Bangalore. As for the eternal nemesis VVS, who knows? Will he be fit enough to play or won't he? Let's see who wins this time. All bets are off.

  • gujratwalla on October 8, 2010, 16:10 GMT

    Laxman is my favourite Indian batsmen because he has always done well against the bullies of ICC not just in India but also in Australia.In style he is the best.

  • jay57870 on October 8, 2010, 15:32 GMT

    Peter, you are right on regarding the "Genius" of VVS Laxman. However, you could have saved the "Doubter" label for someone else: Ricky Ponting (at least for this match). He won the toss but did not capitalize on it. The Aussies plodded for almost two days, without showing the typical "play hard to win" desire. Ricky himself got outhustled by Raina (run-out), And that perhaps was the turning point, as he took an uncharted detour toward the huddling Indians, brandishing his bat at Zaheer for something he said (Usain Bolt?). For sure, this must have fired up the Indian side (especially the wounded warriors). Their batting gave a fitting reply, falling short by only 23 runs. And then the bowling took over, led by (not surprisingly) Zaheer, the Man of the Match to boot. And then came the 4th inning batting heroics, especially from the aroused wounded warriors, VVS and Ishant. Aside: Contrast the comic relief of VVS' outburst at Ojha versus Ricky's toxic taste of his own medicine. TBC.

  • Buntyji on October 8, 2010, 15:22 GMT

    Roebuck is always special. Harsha Bhigle has also done a piece on Laxman's latest innings. But Roebuck's quality stands out. He is blessed with an amazingly balanced head, it shows in his articles.

  • kvr2000 on October 8, 2010, 14:00 GMT

    The statement "the UDRS would certainly have overturned Billy Bowden's error" is speculative while at worst can be described as dumb. I will bet my last dollar that by that time Ishant Sharma's LBW occured, both teams would have exhausted the UDRS options. Cricket is called the sport of glorious uncertainities for nothing and has survived more than hundred years and that perhaps is the beauty of the game. While UDRS may reduce some of the 'glorious uncertanities', nothing will stop beautiful and graceful concertos by the Verily Veritable Super Laxman. God bless him and we thank God for tender mercies of allowing us to watch him waft the magic wand.

  • tall_turtle on October 8, 2010, 13:48 GMT

    // It seems the rest (Indian batsmen except Sehwag) don't like the UDRS telling them they are out. More fool them. Let them use their bats not their pads, let them think about the game and the umpires and fair play.//

    Actually, Indian batsmen don't like even on-field umpires giving them out. They have begun using their pads more often since umpires are reluctant to enforce the LBW rule, but are fine with crediting runs off the pad to the batsmen. Which clearly shows that Indian batsmen have stopped thinking about the game. Fair play? Leave that to highfalutin armchair specialists.

  • the_blue_android on October 8, 2010, 13:19 GMT

    Totally agree with Peter here. Sachin played a really foolish shot. Lapse of concentration and he lacks the will power to cut down on such frivolous shots. I don't think any current good batsmen in such a situation would have played such a shot. Anyone supporting such a shot lack the understanding of test cricket. An attempted upper cut over the slips when India needed 100 runs for a victory in the 4th innings of a test match. JFC....Laxman has better temperament than Sachin. Sachin has more skill albeit displayed only in non crunch situations.

  • cjscanada on October 8, 2010, 11:05 GMT

    What a fantastic game. It is nice to get a win but I do feel sad for the Aussies. A fair result would have been a draw. You got to credit Ponting for leading an inexperienced team so close to victory. I am sure they will keep getting better. At the end of the day it does hurt but Ponting to his credit did not comment on the Ojha decision. The game was played in true spirit. Peter, as a journalist you sound more Poetic, sometimes you get carried in another world. It is nice to hear your thoughts on Laxman. on the other side though let's not forget the innings from Ishant, Tendulkar, Watson and the bowling of Ben and Zaheer. I also felt whenever Mitch Johnson would bowl, he looked threatening. Lastly I am positive India will struggle when the big three retire soon. Hope Pujara gets some experience. Congrats India, Australia on a game well played. It is the swing in momentum and the unpredictable nature that makes Test cricket what it is.

  • on October 8, 2010, 10:03 GMT

    @Crimsonarcher- If you are blaming Billy's decision of the LBW goin in India's favour..then perhaps India would have had an easier victory had Ishant's LBW appeal was turned down by Ian Gould??

  • NISH67 on October 8, 2010, 9:37 GMT

    Tendulkar is not above criticism and as some misguided people think its not sacrilege to point out his obvious flaws . He is also NOT God and cricket is NOT a religion - on the contrary its a mere sport albeit one that has a global following and is not the domain or property of one country and its supporters .....

  • shaantanu on October 8, 2010, 8:38 GMT

    why cant we accept the fact tht under the circumstances sachins shot was not worth it......has it got smething to do with the circus called 20 20 cricket.

  • on October 8, 2010, 7:56 GMT

    Absolutely loved the article.

  • Bikram.Singh on October 8, 2010, 7:56 GMT

    Mind your words Mr. Roebuck, Don't ever commit a crime to describe sachin shot as foolish. If that would have gone over the fielder to boundary, you would have been describing it as a wonderful shot.

  • on October 8, 2010, 7:30 GMT

    - love the detail ... probably one of the most fitting article written for Laxman

  • Hugh-Garse on October 8, 2010, 7:09 GMT

    Amazing, the lengths at which sachin-worshippers will go to in order to defend him. Granted he's a great player, probably the most consistent run-scorer of the modern era (notice i didn't say most devastating or most watchable) but even when the article is about Laxman, and sachin was only briefly mentioned these people still come out of the woodwork. He's still flesh and blood and sh*ts and breathes like the rest of us, not the God that these over-infatuated fans make him out to be. Get a life and accept that he and everyone else is fallible, however great.

  • Crimsonarcher on October 8, 2010, 7:01 GMT

    The result should have gone the other way had the umpires been doing their job. Pragyan ojha was clearly out LBW, but billy bowden was sleeping..and thanks to that error India got the 2 runs to close out the match!. Its really unfortunate, but in the chaos this was missed out!. But a good fought match nevertheless!

  • NISH67 on October 8, 2010, 6:25 GMT

    Great article Peter and due credit To VVS - a most underrated and understated player amongst India's other so called greats . As usual we see a lot of "defensive " attitudes displayed with regard to Peter's argument on the UDRS - which the ICC should make mandatory and his references to Tendulkar which are justified . All I can say is learn to take criticism in a constructive manner as no one is above the game .

  • sweetspot on October 8, 2010, 6:18 GMT

    With the big 4 or big 5 of Indian batting in recent times, it is nice to see each has a different character, a different approach. Laxman's is the most poetic, and Sehwag's the most daring, but both are equally devastating. I'd hate to be in Australia's shoes when Laxman is at the crease, for they don't have a single ball that really troubles this man.

  • Guruprasad.S on October 8, 2010, 5:05 GMT

    @harvey7415 says: 'I think it is misleading to think that Laxman performs better against better bowling attacks.' What nonsense ! By now you should be knowing that Lax's record against Aus is as true as Newton's laws of Physics.

    @harvey7415: No expectations from Laxman ? Really ? You have got your facts wrong. Expectations piled up on Lax after his 167 against Aus at Sydney, and shot up after his 281 in Kolkata. That was nearly 10 years ago. Lax has been answering to those expectations in his own calm, elgant manner on the cricket field. It is a tribute to his superior mental strength and his ability to raise his game in crisis, that has ensured that he meets the expectations of crazy fans more often than not. Your comment on 'nothing-to-lose' attitude of Lax is laughable, to say the least. Lax has as much to lose as Sach, Rahul or Viru. It is just that he doesnt make a fuss of it. If Lax is not seen in commercials, it doesnt mean that the fans dont know him or his worth.

  • on October 8, 2010, 3:54 GMT

    A Great article for Great batsman, a hero, a genius, a legend........ LAXMAN

  • Jim1207 on October 8, 2010, 3:35 GMT

    I guess there are lot of misconceptions. When people talk about Sachin, they say his 4th innings average is 37. But, when talking about VVS, they combine 3rd & 4th innings and state his average is 50, which in 4th innings alone is 39. Sachin averages 43 in both 3rd and 4th innings, so does Ponting. Kallis averages 45 in 4th innings alone. Sangakkara: 42; Border: 34; Sobers: 47; Hayden: 50; Ponting: 52; Boycott: 59; Gavaskar: 58. Why do people criticize Sachin that he does not play pressure situations well while comparing Sachin 4th innings with all other people's (especially Laxman) 3rd & 4th innings combined? Sachin might not be perfect in such scenarios but he is not that bad or behind any of other so-called 4th innings heroes! Sachin has played innumerable innings alone with no other batsman ever scoring well for more than 10 years in 1990s which is equal to playing under pressure in 4th innings. He always played every match so. Just stats alone would not tell you the real story!

  • LalithK on October 8, 2010, 3:27 GMT

    A great article. But Mr.Roebuck's comment on the lbw shout when the last Indian pair was at crease is very judgemental and not factual. The term "Billy Bowden's error", that Mr.Roebuck has used in this article, is very unfair to Billy. Billy denied the lbw, for an inside edge. The way the Australians appealed for the lbw had made it look like a plumb out. But there is no technology in this world except a human ear to pick up a very faint inside edge without deflection. It is very disappointing that Mr.Roebuck has termed Billy's decision as an error. Infact, Billy's decision is very commendable, considering the pressure situation of the match and the pressure applied by the Australian bowler and the close fielders over him.

  • ritesh405 on October 8, 2010, 3:16 GMT

    i am not an australian supporter but they really play their game like champions. look at countries like srilanka. they would have bowled negative, wides, no balls like real loosers. But Australians will challenge you till last moment and want to beat you always. that is why they are respected because they fight hard. as someone has already commented that they will not stop you from winning by playing negative; instead they will try hard, force or even bully to win, and that too, even when chips are down. we gotta give it to these fellas for such a fight.

  • Jim1207 on October 8, 2010, 3:06 GMT

    Talking about the UDRS, the main reason Indian seniors refuse to use is that players have confusion over who uses UDRS and how. In this match, if UDRS was available, surely in a tense match like this all 3 chances would have been already used and nothing different would have happened than what had happened here. So how can someone say that UDRS would have Definitely solved issues in this match! One idea I can think of is give every batsman each chance to use UDRS and only one chance. Give the opposition to use UDRS against every batsman only once. This way there is no confusion over who would use and everyone would get equal chance of UDRS. If someone has not used, its not to be carried over. And, ICC should share the cost of UDRS and not broadcasters. If giving 22 chances would waste time, then so be it! Better be fair to everyone than create new confusions. What's reason for giving 2 or 3 chances only for an innings? ICC should make sure everyone arrives at a solution.

  • memoriesofthepast on October 8, 2010, 2:51 GMT

    Lanka tour was much before the Mohali test started mr .roebuck and Aus never allow other teams to win maybe England may allow that like they allowed India and Pakistan to win World Cups on English soil and allowing the other team to win may be subjected to investigation of fixing the game-Remember Rod marsh and Deniss Lillee escaped that type of investigation in the 1981 Headingley test. Had that been a Eng-Pak game then i am sure Pak players would have been under suspicion of match fixing. The manner in which Aus got all out for 192 in 2nd innings and allowed that unfit Ishant- unfit Laxman partnership to flourish after India were 123/8 down and Ricky trying nothing to get Laxman out that raises a suspicion -did Ricky fix this match? Ricky also comes from the land of Lillee, Marsh, M Waugh and S Warne. ICC should investigate Aus team .

  • on October 8, 2010, 2:51 GMT

    What a fab article!!Peter Roebuck is no less an artist himself(with words) than lara or laxman(with the bat)

  • memoriesofthepast on October 8, 2010, 2:38 GMT

    The test against Lanka was played in the month of July-Aug. AFter that Laxman did not play any game till this Mohali test which started on 1st October- and VVSL was fielding on day 1 of this test. So How can PeterRoebuck say that Laxman brought with him injury into the match? By and large Australians don't try to stop the other team winning- Has Roebuck forgot that Australia captain Greg chapell asked his bowler Trevor Chapell to deliver an underarm to deny the Kiwis a win off the last ball in a onedayer in 1981 and Aus has been involved in two tied tests? Kolkatta 2001, Chennai 2001, Adelaide 2003 and Perth 2008- it was Laxman a common factor in Aus losing the match and day 4 evening Ricky Ponting realizes the danger of Laxman coming to bat on day 5- it took 10 years after Laxman's 1st test century in 2000, Sydney for Ricky to realize the threat of Laxman-why 10 years? And being granted a runner is not a guarantee that batsman will win the game.

  • houston_hawks on October 8, 2010, 2:16 GMT

    "Ricky Ponting could have argued that he had brought the injury into the match, and the umpires could hardly have disagreed. But he did not stoop" Not many people might have thought about it. Very vaild point.

  • EverybodylovesSachin on October 8, 2010, 2:03 GMT

    WHAT A RUBBISH PETER...I DO NOT AGREE WITH YOU PETER...YOU ARE JUST LOOKING AT 5TH DAY OF THE GAME WHAT LARA AND LAXMAN PLAYED...TEST MATCH IS ABOUT ALL 5 DAYS AND ALWAYS SOMEONE PLAYS GOOD INNINGS ON 5TH DAY HIS INNINGS IS TGHE BEST OF ALL THE TIME...LAXMAN FAILED TO DELIVER MORE TIMES THAN HE WAS ABLE TO SAVE A MATCH...BUT ALWAYS THE LAST MOMENT SUCEES ALWAYS REMEMBERED...LARA SCORED JUST 08 RUNS IN HIS FIRST INNING HE FAILED AND SECOND INNING HIS INNING IS IN THE ALL TIME GREAT...LOL WHAT A RUBBUSH

  • on October 8, 2010, 1:54 GMT

    The beginning of this article startled me. "VVS Laxman has joined Brian Lara on the short list of modern batsmen whose mastery extends to fourth-innings chases.....". Other than the 153 not out against Australia I could not recall a single Brian Lara innings that won a match in a 4th innings chase. So I went on to Cricinfo Statsguru and checked his 4 innings record. It confirmed what I suspected. His record is in fact pitiful. He averages 35 in such situations. So I went one step further. I checked a list of batsman who are well regarded. And it was quite revealing. The top batsman - Gavaskar (avg 58). Among the above only he, Miandad, Ponting, Smith average over 50 in a 4th innings chase. Sobers, Richards, Greg Chappell, Pietersen average over 45. Kallis & Dravid average over 40. The rest were below 40. And Lara is below Tendulkar (avg37). Sehwag was dead last (avg 28). Laxman has improved with his last 2 matchwinners to 40+. SO HOW DID LARA ATTAIN THIS MAGICAL REPUTATION?!

  • on October 8, 2010, 1:09 GMT

    @ VIPIN.CHAUDHARY Posted by vipin.chaudhary2325 on (October 07 2010, 13:31 PM GMT) lara dosen't have many special innings in 4th innings but just dat 153 against australia...

    JUST THAT 153 AGAINST AUSTRALIA??? Dude have you watched it ??? It was the equivalent of VVS' except that Lara was playing in a useless team and did it under far more unbelievable circumstances and it was a 153 so you can imagine how much harder it was! It is not called the best knock ever for nothing

  • Salgy on October 8, 2010, 1:05 GMT

    Mr Roebuck, I like your articles. They are refreshing!

    Your observation -- "the UDRS would certainly have overturned Billy Bowden's error in denying an lbw with the last pair at the crease"

    My observation -- "Ishant Sharma would not have left the ground and UDRS would have overturned Mr Gould's error!"

  • spinkingKK on October 8, 2010, 0:33 GMT

    I forgot to mention something. I don't know why Peter Roebuck thinks that Ponting could have denied a runner for Laxman and he has done favor for India by not doing that because AUSTRALIANS don't try to stop other teams winning!! PLEASE! Australians were the inventors of sledging and it is a weapon in stoping the other teams winning by talking. Cricket is meant to be played with a bat and ball. Not words. Denying a runner for an injured batsman is unheard of. What kind of sportsman should contemplate such an idea? What kind of sportsman will ask for a runner when he is not severly injured? Ponting could have denied Laxman a runner, if he was in the same class as the former captains who would even resort to bowling underarm to deny a sixer to a No.11 batsman and win an ODI. Ponting, I beleive, is a good sportsman and always talks the right thing and I respect him for that. But, that trait is not some kind of bonus. It is expected of him.

  • spinkingKK on October 7, 2010, 23:58 GMT

    I am a supporter of UDRS. However, Peter says that UDRS would have overturned Bowden't decision in denying the LBW against Ojha. I thought UDRS doesn't use Hawke Eye! Therefore, umpire's decision would have upheld. Also, in Ishant Sharma's LBW, this current UDRS system would have upheld the umpire's decision. Because, Hawke Eye is not relied upon and the fact that the ball is missing stumps wouldn't have mattered!! Only thing is, Gambir(inside edge) and Hussey(pitched outside leg) would have got a life if they asked for UDRS. Still, we would have got two of the bad decisions out of the way and that is good for the game. I agree with Peter's comment on when Laxman doesn't perform. The moment Laxman thinks about the average, he becomes average.

  • arya_underfoot on October 7, 2010, 23:43 GMT

    thank u for mentioning ponting's sporting gesture in allowing vvs a runner. he had every right to protest. i believe many other captains, including dhoni, would've at least considered protesting. we hear all about the aussies sledging and other supposedly anti-sporting behaviour but not enough about the good stuff. lets give ricky some credit.

  • on October 7, 2010, 23:38 GMT

    Tendulkar can be trapped leg-before? Oh REALLY? Whose opinion is that? I think you should pass on that information to the bowlers- they are in dire need of your INTELLIGENCE! And regarding 3rd para last line: by India's champion batsman if you meant Sachin, that is very unfortunate... After looking at the way he has played the last year, on WHAT basis do you say that? And yeah, that was a 'foolish' shot by Sachin..how easily, ensconced in the comforts of the drawing room, you can comment on the 'foolishness' of cricket's greatest ambassador! If he had hit a boundary with the same shot (which he has done consistently btw), the same you would have said it's his genius..The shot was definitely not well-selected, but please choose your words CAREFULLY before insulting the great man. The rest o

  • on October 7, 2010, 23:22 GMT

    Nice Article....good observation about VVS

  • maxymax on October 7, 2010, 23:09 GMT

    Sorry, how much ever I love Sachin and adore him, I will have to agree with Peter that it was a foolish shot indeed. I can't imagine Sachin playing it if it weren't for too much IPL/T20. Though it gets in lots of runs, may be in T20 and one day, he would never play that shot in tests in the past.

  • Jim1207 on October 7, 2010, 22:52 GMT

    Talking about the UDRS, the main reason Indian seniors refuse to use is that players have confusion over who uses UDRS and how. In this match, if UDRS was available, surely in a tense match like this all 3 chances would have been already used and nothing different would have happened than what had happened here. So how can someone say that UDRS would have Definitely solved issues in this match! One idea I can think of is give every batsman each chance to use UDRS and only one chance. Give the opposition to use UDRS against every batsman only once. This way there is no confusion over who would use and everyone would get equal chance of UDRS. If someone has not used, its not to be carried over. And, ICC should share the cost of UDRS and not broadcasters. If giving 22 chances would waste time, then so be it! Better be fair to everyone than create new confusions. What's reason for giving 2 or 3 chances only for an innings? ICC should make sure everyone arrives at a solution.

  • redneck on October 7, 2010, 22:50 GMT

    giving the indians a runner worked in australias advantage. i doubt we would have got dhoni so easy if there hadnt been a runner for laxman.

  • GeoffLemon on October 7, 2010, 22:45 GMT

    Oh, good Lord, of course all the Tendulkar worshippers come out of the woodwork. "How dare you suggest the Almighty SRT made a mistake?" Newsflash, gentlemen. He's just a batsman. A very very good one, but still just a guy. With a bat. Sometimes he gets out. Sometimes he plays bad shots. Sometimes he gets out to hack bowlers like Marcus North. And if any bastman is trying to uppercut over slips in a low-scoring fourth-innings chase, then "foolish" is a pretty apt description.

    Also, @Rohit Rathi, "you did not mentioned the LBW decision given to Ishant Sharma in the end." Dude, try reading the article before you comment. What did Roebuck say? He said "India almost paid a heavy price for their ridiculous refusal to use the UDRS." Referring to...the fact that Ishant was wrongly given out. Clearly.

    Very good article, by the by. Really got the spirit of Laxman just right. One of cricket's geniuses.

  • lugujaga on October 7, 2010, 22:30 GMT

    Stop kissing Laxman's you know what !! If ohja had gotten runout, all these acalaides for VVS Laxman would not have escaped your mouth.Enough already about laxman, let's see what he does for the next test.

  • on October 7, 2010, 22:09 GMT

    I am as big a Sachin fan as the next person but I find it idiotic that people are so touchy about him. India is no longer a wannabe in world cricket and with the team maturing, it is time for the fans to grow up and accept criticism gracefully and not start throwing a tantrum as soon as someone looks at your idol the wrong way.

  • on October 7, 2010, 22:09 GMT

    I am as big a Sachin fan as the next person but I find it idiotic that people are so touchy about him. India is no longer a wannabe in world cricket and with the team maturing, it is time for the fans to grow up and accept criticism gracefully and not start throwing a tantrum as soon as someone looks at your idol the wrong way.

  • on October 7, 2010, 21:58 GMT

    Great writing, for a great bat...

  • Xcrictic on October 7, 2010, 21:47 GMT

    Good article. Ishant Sharma's role in winning this test is much more than any one can rate. One flaw... Sachin... foolish shot????

  • ygkd on October 7, 2010, 21:15 GMT

    It is not statistics that always matters but class. Class is what comes to the fore on an away tour, when the opposition is steaming at you, on an unhelpful pitch, at a critical moment, in a deciding rubber. Class does not wait for easy wickets or runs. It doesn't just trust its luck, it knows it is capable. It does it time after time when things are tough. It mightn't have better statistics than the chancers who do ride their luck, but it has context. Roebuck is right to mention the context of Laxman's efforts.

  • McGorium on October 7, 2010, 20:46 GMT

    @dilipm: I disagree with both you and Peter re. SRT's ramp shot. Now the ramp shot has brought SRT tonnes of runs. It was badly executed, just like Ponting's pull shot, but neither were foolish. VVS could have just as easily top-edged some of the pulls he played, or gotten an inside edge on to some of the shots that he played without footwork. It has happened before. If Ponting had an additional slip in place, perhaps VVS would've been caught. Bollinger's bouncer came in to SRT and cramped him for space. SRT and Ponting didn't have the luck; their mistimed shots went straight to the fielder; a few feet on either side and it would've been 4 runs. VVS's edges went past fielders. Ishant played and missed so many of Hilfenhaus's outswingers. He just had to nick one, and it would've been curtains. Let's not be too quick to judge people's intentions and castigate them as selfish. Random chance plays an important role in any innings, as most players will attest.

  • on October 7, 2010, 20:44 GMT

    I fail to understand why people start debating " We won due to Mr.X and Lost due to Mr.Y" I think cricket is a team game. All contributed for the win. Zaheer( for his bowling), Ojha ( tight bowling though did not get wickets), Tendulkar( first innings 98), Ishant ( resistant batting ) and VeryVery Special knock from Laxman.... They all are match winners and the heading is India defeats Australia.

    This incident reminds me of Kumble's simillar act in West Indies, where he came to bowl with broken jaws and took Lara's wicket. Sachin returning to World cup after his father's demise and scoring back to back tons vs Kenya and Sri Lanka. These guys are exceptional lot. They make our country proud, make us proud... We adulate them when we win.. We curse them when we loose.... Thats the plight of Cricket in India... Its a religion and no one is atheist here....

  • EverybodylovesSachin on October 7, 2010, 20:40 GMT

    Peter, I do not agree with you and not a good article. Test match is of 5 DAYS not just the LAST DAY Your article completely focus on 5th DAY which turns Test match into an ODI and then you make heros based on last DAY who peforms well to win the entire five day match. Lara failed in the first innings so did Laxman. You guys count so called GREATEST innings based on LAST DAY only which is ridiculous and fails basics of a TEST MATCH.

  • charanvelishala on October 7, 2010, 20:31 GMT

    Good Article, just a comment on describing Tendulkar's stroke as foolish, you could have described it as ambitious, that stroke got him a lot of runs, there wasn't a third man so he knew exactly what he was doing. when you are talking about the most respected batsman in the world you got to choose your words carefully.

  • McGorium on October 7, 2010, 20:31 GMT

    I'm surprised that Peter thinks VVS doesn't have a weakness: there's a glaring one; it's probably just that the Aussies don't have the bowlers to take advantage of it. VVS gets bowled or LBW to deliveries pitched up and coming back into him. I've seen Pakistani bowlers like Asif, Akhtar, and bowlers like Shane Bond and even O'Brien get him by bowling a fuller length and bringing it back in. Not surprisingly VVS's record against the Pakistanis is modest. I can't think of an aussie bowler who bowls a fuller length and also brings the ball back in. Perhaps therein lies the real issue. VVS is a backfoot player who doesn't really drive much straight down the ground, and doesn't really get too far forward, and often leaves a gap between bat and pad. My opinion, anyway.

    Extremely well played in this game though. Also Ishant Sharma. I hope this gives him the confidence he needs (and earns him some brownie points with the selectors)

  • BrianCharlesVivek on October 7, 2010, 20:02 GMT

    Roebuck has been a neutral writer and unlike Gideon Haigh who blatantly bashes India & BCCI whenver he sees a slight opportunity. I feel this article also does the India bashing along with Laxman praising in every alternate paragraphs. He points that Ponting didnt stoop by rejecting a runner, but for a fully fit Laxman in first innings , India would have crossed 550 and match would have been done within 4 days. The same UDRS that might have ruled Ojha out wouldnt have ruled Ishant out as well. @Quazar, agreed that 136 was lion hearted etc, but Lax finished the job off from a similar painful situation and with last two wickets. 103 again wasnt when they were 7 down, they were 3 down with 250 to get in a flat pitch where an Englishman scored each innings hundred. Give credit where its due, for Lara and Laxman. There can never be another 153 or 281 ..And even Lara played a crucial 60 while chasing 413..Sachin is God becos of stats,but when asked why he cant finish it off, its a team game.

  • Chan-197 on October 7, 2010, 19:35 GMT

    Dear Synergy You know nothing about Laxman and Tendulkar just like Peter Roebuck . I am agree with Quazar comments. India won most of the time whenever Tendulkar played good knock. statistics shows that one. Not any other players and he is the player that only his presence in dressing room lifts the spirit of players. Don't forget his 98 runs and partnership with Raina. After his dismissal everything changed. India would have scored more runs in first innings and those runs would be crucial for 4th innings. As Quazar said FYI Peter, that "foolish" stroke has earned him loads of runs in the last 5 yrs. That's why he scored that many runs for country and he is chosen for the best player of the year by the fan and jury. He was chosen for test and one day cricket's best player. Never mind you won't understand this, not you fault. You won't see beyond your limitation.

  • KING_V on October 7, 2010, 19:34 GMT

    A fitting article for one of the most stylish batsman

  • Dr.K.H.Iyer on October 7, 2010, 19:30 GMT

    Unfortunately for you Synergy, Sachin has always played for the team! it just seems that you are exceptionally unobservant of how he plays and come to conclusions from the results! Not very analytical of you! Any losing knock Sachin has made so far can be blamed on the rest of the team for they did not do ANYTHING! Of course, Laxman is a great fighter! As Mr. Roebuck points out, he is the perfect antidote against Australia!

  • stgicl on October 7, 2010, 19:18 GMT

    VVS is also one of the great batsman in Indian batting line up.Specially his innings in Kolkata(281) and recently in Srilanka in 3rd test(103*) and then another great knock which almost stunned Aussies in Mohali.Can anybody even think of an indian win after 125/8 but VVS is VVS.I wish VVS very good luck in upcoming matches. PEACE

  • tall_turtle on October 7, 2010, 18:58 GMT

    Is Peter Roebuck being provocative or is he plain biased? The last batsman wouldn't have been at the crease had it not been for the erroneous judgment handed to Ishant Sharma.

    It gets worse. Roebeck has this to say of Tendulkar, Dravid and the rest of India's top order batsmen:

    "It seems the rest don't like the UDRS telling them they are out. More fool them. Let them use their bats not their pads, let them think about the game and the umpires and fair play."

    The Indians may or may not be right in declining to use the UDRS. But such wild accusations and statements? Shame on you, Mr.Roebeck.

  • VoltaireC on October 7, 2010, 18:55 GMT

    Peter-Very, very appropriate indeed. You took the words from my mouth in comparing this VVS special with Lara's once in a life-time innings....but remember Lara was dropped once in that incredible innings. I am pleased that instead of focusing just focusing on the innings itself you fleshed out the character/talent of Laxman with its rare beauty as well as imperfections. Those of our ilk(Laxman die-hards) are equally frustrated and delighted by our man....give him a weak opposition with no pressure VVS simply loses moorings. On the other hand hint of any real pressure the real VVS shines through brightest! Ever since we really understood this dichotomy of our dear man, we are happy that special Laxman needs special circumstances. Some otherwise great batsmen don't enjoy respect since they flounder under pressure/good fast bowling i must add(Zaheer Abbas comes to mind) so we can't complain too much that Lachi performs when he must(seems like a definition of Genius). Mukul your tunr now!

  • Laxyvick on October 7, 2010, 18:51 GMT

    Thanks Navillus ... Thanks to you noticed the great article at http://senantixtwentytwoyards.blogspot.com/2010/10/pull-of-laxman.html

    It is a treat ... the man writes with his soul ... quite Laxy in fact

  • on October 7, 2010, 18:24 GMT

    Sachin, Laxman and Dravid are the players whom India will always miss and i am sure India will never get such players, playing at same time.These guys are surely cricket genius but the other things good in them is the way they represent India at international level. I have rarely seen them involved in bad incidents. All these guys are down to earth, never felt like they are proud of themselves, never seen them talking in loud voice.

    Dhoni, Yuvraj, Sreensath etc can never match them with performance in decency.

    Once again Kudos to Laxman and Ishant as well for magnificent victory.

  • Stevo_ on October 7, 2010, 18:15 GMT

    @kitten "Given that Laxman was on the field for the duration of the Australian first innings and batted at 10 during the Indian first innings, there was no much Ricky Ponting could have done to prevent Laxman the runner. Cheers,"

    Nope you've got it wrong sorry mate, Ricky would have been within his rights to question the runner and the umpires as per the law would have had to disallow the runner. In the link you sent ; "(a)If the umpires are satisfied that a nominated player has been injured or become ill since the nomination of the players, they shall allow that player to have"

    Laxman was hurt in the previous test VS SL (as Roebuck points out) not since "the nomination of the player" ie before the toss day one of the test.

  • on October 7, 2010, 18:03 GMT

    But apart from that, an excellent article on one of the unsung heroes of Indian cricket.., the artist, Laxman..

  • on October 7, 2010, 18:02 GMT

    Mr Roebuck, I guess there is a small misconception here.. !!! I just did a small check on cricinfo and it says Lara's overall average is 52.88 as against his 4th innings average of 35.12 and Sachin's overall average is 56.11 as against his 4th innings average of 37.25.. Also, even for Laxman, his fourth innings average is 39.77 compared to overall average of 47.40 ... I dont know where the mastery of Lara and the patchiness of Sachin in fourth innings comes from.. In my mind, the biggest misconception of all time..

  • Shantan on October 7, 2010, 17:39 GMT

    @weenmcqueen, Really? Will Tendulkar top the all-time Test & ODI lists for best innings? I don't think he would do it even if we take the last 21 years since his debut. Who can beat the 153* by Lara or the 281 by Laxman? And who can beat Viv Richards' 189* where more than 100 runs were scored with just No. 11 at the crease. I don't think Sachin can get the best ODI innings even by an Indian... that honor surely should go to Kapil Dev for his 175*. I know Desert Storm were two brilliant innings, but the circumstances and the final outcome of 175* surely make that a better innings.

    I think we tend to get too carried away, especially younger Indians. We talk/write as though there was no cricket prior to what we have been seeing. That's why any player who does well for a reasonable period of time is suddenly called the "Best Ever".

  • on October 7, 2010, 17:34 GMT

    Of course, the UDRS would certainly have overturned Billy Bowden's error in denying an lbw with the last pair at the crease.

    You mentioned the above thing, but you did not mentioned the LBW decision given to Ishant Sharma in the end.

  • montys_muse on October 7, 2010, 17:22 GMT

    I think VVS should be sent at one-drop for the next few series. Just let Dravid get his form and confidence back...

  • harvey7415 on October 7, 2010, 16:56 GMT

    I think it is misleading to think that Laxman performs better against better bowling attacks. I think the key factor is expectations. The expectations of the Indian fans from Laxman has always been low compared to Tendulkar and Dravid. Laxman does not carry the weight of Indian expectations, so he goes with a "nothing to lose" attitude. Tendulkar, Sehwag, Dravid don't. I don't think after this innings, Laxman will be overlooked that easily. The Indian fans will be looking at him more closely than before and therein lies the challenge - to be able to meet the weight of all those 1 billion expectations. Indian cricketers are usually not very good at it especially in crunch situations such as the World Cup.

  • on October 7, 2010, 16:46 GMT

    VVS is probably the most- under-rated cricketer alive. True that critics slam him every now and then and the fact that he performs only against the Aussies stands out. He deserves more credit than what he has been given so far.

  • Percy_Fender on October 7, 2010, 16:34 GMT

    I have always enjoyed reading Peter Roebuck for his description of a game, his turn of phrase and sense of humour. The above article all these ingredients. It also brings out the matchlessness of a modern genius. Like Peter, I too am baffled at Laxman's meekness against lessr opponents. He rises only when the Australians or the South Africans or the West Indians are in town. Peter Roebucall k once played and captained Somerset. Buy after he hung his boots went to Australia to cash in on his knowledge of the game and his undoubted writing skills. I recall how much he was pilloried by the Australians for having written an article after the India Australia Test in Sydney, in which he favoured India. There are some expressions that he has used that I remember for their aptness. One was about John Buchnan. Buchnan aparently smiled rarely in his coaching days for Australia. So once when he smiled Peter said he looked like an antelope scaling a fence. Tremendous Peter. Carry on regardless.

  • pankajkumarsingh on October 7, 2010, 16:14 GMT

    Yup, of the famous 5, Laxman is the most under-rated. And under-rated to a point where he was dropped from one-day side (maybe justifiable). Laxman would go down in the history as one of the rare batsmen whose 4th innings contribution was excellent and definitely the best no. 6 the world has ever produced. What I do not agree with Mr. Roebuck is his question about Ponting's strategy to handle Laxman/Sharma pair. When a batsman is all set at a spot Laxman was - you always ease out the field so you can save runs. Justifiably - Ponting had realized he could not get Laxman out. He might as well save runs in the process. On the other hand, he had to over-attack Ishant Sharma. That was his only desperate chance (theoretically speaking anyway)

  • on October 7, 2010, 15:54 GMT

    I can smell pungent burning smell from sgskn, I don't know how people cannot appreciate such a bravo act that too against none other than the notorious Australians notorious for using tactics other than cricketing ones. I salute you Sir VVS for your commendable innings. But at the same time some people don't understand the difference between God and Humans, thats even more annoying, calling Laxman or Sachin Gods?..they both use bathrooms, they both will one day pass away from this world and all of us too eventually. God is ever living, HE is the one and only one who manages all the affairs of this world and all the other worlds too. HE dont need no parters nor does he have any son's or daughters.... please mind it!.

  • vivvi on October 7, 2010, 15:35 GMT

    for people questioning india's logic in not using the UDRS ,should also question the logic of using UDRS , saying teams can use it for only three time(worst case)...is like saying at worst case only six mistakes can be made in a match any more mistakes will be unaccounted ...comeon ..if people want technology to save the game.... then why the heck,use it for all the decisons.....or else just leave it to ump.. why half this..half that.....eat it raw or cook it full.....why eat half cooked.........

  • doesitmatter on October 7, 2010, 15:32 GMT

    What is this about 3rd innings or 4th innings c..p...let us see a team win without scoring much in the first inning?.. for that matter 90% of the test macthes are won based on Ist innings..this new phenomenon of using statistis to undermine a player is being taken too far..Lara without his 153* will still be regarded by his admirers as the great batsman and Tendulkar(i am fan of his) will always be legend for his followers..and even if laxman scores another 281* he will always be 2nd in my favorite list when compared to you know who..becuase it is not the match-winning or match-losing that made me a fan of SRT in the first place ..but the sheer class of the man while batting or for that matter even off the field...I see the title of the atricle is "Genius and the doubter"..i say there is no doubt in my mind SRT is a genius..Match winning knock or not..

  • on October 7, 2010, 15:24 GMT

    The sheer selflessness and concentrating power of Lax is unbeatable. In a world where every Tom Dick and Harry are giving up on the longer game to make fast bucks in the mini-skirt version, here is a champion who lives and breathes the true meaning of cricket.

  • DCP1985 on October 7, 2010, 14:38 GMT

    As Peter said we cannot compare Lax's mohali innings with lara's innings.. but context wise this innings is equally valuble...

  • RohanBhalerao on October 7, 2010, 14:34 GMT

    Heart burns while reading Sachin and foolish words in the same line. The whole article is damn good except that line. Please Mr.Roebuck, it's unacceptable when u write this kind of a word to even a stroke from Sachin. I know i m being over-emotional, but THATS THE WAY IT IS IN INDIAN MINDS FOR SACHIN..!

  • andy2142 on October 7, 2010, 14:33 GMT

    Normally, I like Peter's articles but this one shows double standards. The article seems to praise Laxman but at the same time one could see wishful thinking that Australia should have won if Ojha was given out through UDRS, but conveniently ignoring that several decisions went against India. Not only Ishant and Gambhir's wrong decisions but also Hussey could have been out LBW through UDRS before he was eventually wrongly given out. So not using UDRS hurt India more than Australia. Just like many other comments on similar articles on cricinfo after this match, Peter also could not stop himself from stooping low in pointing out that Tendulkar cannot achieve a similar feat. This type of comment can be accepted from a common fan who in the emotions of one game can temporarily forget important contributions from other players on other occasions, but for a cricket writer who has most facts and seen and analyzed many games is not forgivable.

  • ShayanAbbasi on October 7, 2010, 14:25 GMT

    Gr8 inngs by Laxman. And i think Inzi deserved a mention too, he's played some good knocks in the last inngs

  • on October 7, 2010, 14:23 GMT

    @synergy it has become fashionable to criticize Sachin b/c he has been breaking records. But that's pretty strange as he has to play well to break records and you are complaining. Laxman did a hero's job and finished the game for India but it was still a team effort. If Sachin had gotten out earlier, its unlikely India would have won. The 4 that got out the night before should have done their job too.

  • viva_cric on October 7, 2010, 14:05 GMT

    Well responded Quazar. I appreciate. Mr. Peter it is nce article but few un acceptable notes. Laxman is a greatest test player along with Sachin and Dravid. there is no doubt in sachin's integrity towards team. If some one scores him self wont that score count to team? In that case how come sachin plays selfish??. We should't forget that sachin made 98 in first innings and 38 in second. that was crucial contribution to win the match. and Laxman's innings should be part of top 10 best innings of test cricket history along with Sachin's 136 at chennai in 99' and Dravids 70+ at adelide.Sachin and laxman contributin only brought victory to india in 01' chennai test. Sachin said to have that he enjoys watching Laxman's playing. But only sad is he's not been respecting likes of sachin/dravid/sehwag/ganguly.As an Indian and especially hyderabadi I feel proud of Laxman. Sachin is a nation's 'KOHINOOR' and should be honored with 'BHARATH RATNA' .

  • Sky-Walker on October 7, 2010, 14:01 GMT

    Peter, after long time I read your good article (probably first time after Sydney episode !) . Two things, 1)I liked the way you picked up Indian seniors on URDS . It appears that they had worst experience in Sri lanka and now they are not ready to give 2nd chance to the technology. URSD review takes out the uncertainty in the game along with it's charm! My view is, let test cricket remain little bit traditional in this word of technology. 2)Your last sentence is really thought provoking . There are so many artistic grates such as Vishi, Azar, Gover, etc. but they did not achieve the ultimate winning recognition of the greatness however Laxman has because of his three gutsy 2nd innings (I cannot forget his assault in losing cause at Sydney -148 NO. another 2nd inning!) . Artistic is not enough, it should be backed by competitiveness and determination! In this respect Laxman is different then Veru, Rahul and Sachin. Cheers

  • inswing on October 7, 2010, 13:58 GMT

    Beautifully written, as usual, by Roebuck. He is also right about UDRS. India's pig headed refusal to use it almost cost them the match. It should have been a comfortable victory. If I hear "those things even themselves out" one more time, I am going to pull my hair out. They DO NOT. India got more wrong decision in this match against them than in their favor. Exactly what happened in Australia. It is about 3 to 1 against/for ratio. Name other tours when it was 3/1 for/against in favor of India. Not one or two favorable decisions, but the totality of wrong decisions for the series. That said, the problem with UDRS is allowing batsmen to challenge decisions, who tend to waste them. All challenges should come from the pavilion, like in NFL.

  • Mark00 on October 7, 2010, 13:56 GMT

    Best piece of journalism I've read on cricinfo in a very long time. Shockingly frank and certain to cause more than a few eye brows to be raised. Bravo!

  • Akash.S on October 7, 2010, 13:52 GMT

    "Quazar". It is high time to stop singing "Tendulkar-Tendulkar. A child can also guess that he has always played for his own recoreds rather than for the team. A genius or real match winner is the one, who actually drive team to the win and not the one who contribute in between and then left. His 100+ against Eng in Chennai was not the greatest one. He was not the real hero of the match. Had Sewag not played 68 Balls 83 on 4th day last session, the match was almost certain to lose for India or a draw. Then it was Yuvraj who put pressure on English batsman and not Tendulkar.

    His 136 in the 4th innings Vs Pak in 1999 (Chennai) is one of the best example why he should not be considered great. He played very bad shot when we hardly need 17 runs. Had Laxman or Dravid playing at that time, they would have been made sure that whatever happend, they will not trow their wickets until we win.

    And C'mon, you cannot compare Lara with Tendulkar. Lara has won many matches single handedly.

  • Akash.S on October 7, 2010, 13:52 GMT

    "Quazar". It is high time to stop singing "Tendulkar-Tendulkar. A child can also guess that he has always played for his own recoreds rather than for the team. A genius or real match winner is the one, who actually drive team to the win and not the one who contribute in between and then left. His 100+ against Eng in Chennai was not the greatest one. He was not the real hero of the match. Had Sewag not played 68 Balls 83 on 4th day last session, the match was almost certain to lose for India or a draw. Then it was Yuvraj who put pressure on English batsman and not Tendulkar.

    His 136 in the 4th innings Vs Pak in 1999 (Chennai) is one of the best example why he should not be considered great. He played very bad shot when we hardly need 17 runs. Had Laxman or Dravid playing at that time, they would have been made sure that whatever happend, they will not trow their wickets until we win.

    And C'mon, you cannot compare Lara with Tendulkar. Lara has won many matches single handedly.

  • Jim1207 on October 7, 2010, 13:49 GMT

    Talking about the UDRS, the main reason Indian seniors refuse to use is that players have confusion over who uses UDRS and how. In this match, if UDRS was available, surely in a tense match like this all 3 chances would have been already used and nothing different would have happened than what had happened here. So how can someone say that UDRS would have Definitely solved issues in this match! One idea I can think of is give every batsman each chance to use UDRS and only one chance. Give the opposition to use UDRS against every batsman only once. This way there is no confusion over who would use and everyone would get equal chance of UDRS. If someone has not used, its not to be carried over. And, ICC should share the cost of UDRS and not broadcasters. If giving 22 chances would waste time, then so be it! Better be fair to everyone than create new confusions. What's reason for giving 2 or 3 chances only for an innings? ICC should make sure everyone arrives at a good solution.

  • Akash.S on October 7, 2010, 13:44 GMT

    "weenmcqueen". It is time to stop singing "Tendulkar-Tendulkar". It is no hidden truth that he has always played for his own record. Forget about topping in a great inning in top 20 tests, Tendulkar is nowhere in 50 tests also. In fact there will be at least 10 examples where he throw away his wicket when it was most needed and India lost the match. Had it been Tendulkar playing at laxman place, he would have throw away his wicket when we needed around 20 runs and we might have lost the match. He is more hyped player than he is in real like Gavaskar who also played for his record rather than India.

  • vipin.chaudhary2325 on October 7, 2010, 13:31 GMT

    lara dosen't have many special innings in 4th innings but just dat 153 against australia... quite interesting lara, sachin, steve waugh all three dosent have average above 40 in 4th innings... lara and sachin have 37. and steve waugh 25 in 4th innings

  • on October 7, 2010, 13:31 GMT

    Peter, I was little sceptical and little confused while reading this article. You talk about Lara a lot and then you talk about Laxman. Then you talk about Laxman's " peculiar and particular" ( 's ). And you talk about as if Ponting had less quality recourses to use against Laxman. All this stuff only to support your point that Laxman unleashes his abilities only in adversity. Which many disagree. He played his best in many situations. Needless to mention here.

    I question you, how come it is an adverse situation when you assume Ponting has less quality resources to play against Laxman, and when the " pitch was still playing well". Sorry to say this , but it sounded ridiculous to me and it sounded as if you were trying to criticize Laxman's abilities without actual saying it. For that I will say , "wow" what an articulate writer you are.

  • Aashish23 on October 7, 2010, 13:18 GMT

    @synergy....Tendulkar scored 98 in first innings and 38 in 2nd innings Two short but very vital partnerships with Zaheer and Laxman get ur facts right and then post

  • LaxisGreat on October 7, 2010, 12:46 GMT

    Great article and agree with the analysis. Laxman thrives under maximum pressure. BTW, navillus, thanks for the reference to a great article. The writing is brilliant. No one has played a better tribute to Laxman.

    I refer to http://senantixtwentytwoyards.blogspot.com/2010/10/pull-of-laxman.html

    Absolutely awesome.

  • Navillus on October 7, 2010, 12:28 GMT

    I see many have enjoyed this article. And probably some have also visited the following article in a separate blog site. If you haven't visited already, don't miss it. This guy actually writes better than established cricket writers. His passion for cricket drips from every word.

    http://senantixtwentytwoyards.blogspot.com/

  • avssrs on October 7, 2010, 12:15 GMT

    @Noel Cardoza, don't we just love comments like yours? Nothing about what's being talked about. No insight given, no value added. All about how something might have been overlooked.

    "India almost paid a heavy price for their ridiculous refusal to use the UDRS."

    There it is. Loud and clear. A reference to how we nearly lost the match because of Ishant's incorrect LBW decision. If he had used the UDRS, Ishant would not have been given out and we might have won the game a bit more comfortably.

  • mragendrakumarverma on October 7, 2010, 12:11 GMT

    Reaccessing All that has happened right before the test match started and the time test match ended.I would like to add my views to it "WHILE MANY IN INDIA ARE BUSY PONDERING WHERE RAM WAS BORN?? THE AUSTRALIANS ARE WONDERING WHY LAXMAN WAS BORN" I would like to bring this to everybodys notice.Aussies are petrified of Laxman.If it was seen Even SAchin struggled with likes of Mcgrath.But Here is a warrior who stands still and delivers. If Sachin is god.Laxman is Yamraaj for Australia and they would pray he doesnot play with them. Well if Laxman improves his fielding and running.If He plays so quickly that Aussies who were targeting Sachin and Sehwag has no solution to him. I am great fan of Sachin,dhoni,sehwag.but in tests when there is laxman australia have to wait as long as he doesnot retire from tests. They have to wait for series win here. If he plays as he does for india we will remain no 1 in tests for a long time. Indeed he is VVS VERY VERY SPECIAL FOR INDIA. JAI HO LAXMAN

  • on October 7, 2010, 11:52 GMT

    Noel, really? Read it again. He opens that paragraph by saying the Indians' refusal to use the URDS almost cost them the match. Through Sharma's wicket.

  • synergy on October 7, 2010, 11:50 GMT

    Yes indeeda great knock by Laxman the unsung hero of India while the demi god Tendulkar once again failed to produce a winning knock for India. Laxman is a fighter and plays for the team unlike Sachin who continues to pile up records for himself but sadly not for India.

  • dilipm on October 7, 2010, 11:15 GMT

    Peter has described Laxman beautifully. This gentle,cultured genius has always tended to shy away from the limelight, lesser cricketers in the team crave,demand and get.But when the team is in deep mire, he drops a sturdy rope to his mates and pulls them up to safety.He has done this many times. With zen like concentration and a steel trap for a mind he focuses on the task ahead, cutting out distracting emotions most of the time. Every ball is played with the ultimate goal in mind. Even the great Tendulkar is not always aligned to the team's priorities by taking undue risks in situations demanding firmness of purpose. Machismo and the need to dominate proceedings sometimes override a cautious, steady and singleminded progress to the ultimate goal in his case. This quality has prevented Tendulkar from becoming a great strategist and captain even though his batting skills are sublime even at this age. Laxman with a calm, rational, analytical mind is an ideal team leader!

  • on October 7, 2010, 11:12 GMT

    well summarised by peter and other commenters. But @sgskn... then u dont the meaning of fighting spirit. did u go to office when u r sick. u will simply take sick leave... VVS iinnings is special even more as he was injured and he tried to win a game.

  • Arachnodouche on October 7, 2010, 11:08 GMT

    Lovely article, Peter. Gave me goosebumps.

  • weenmcqueen on October 7, 2010, 10:16 GMT

    Not one of the best 20 innings in last 20 years. Probably. But what a list that would be. Why limit to modern era? What about best/greatest 20 test and ODI innings of all time. My feeling Mr Tendulkar might top both lists.

  • Quazar on October 7, 2010, 10:02 GMT

    For once, I have to take issue with Peter. 1) Lara's 153* was GENIUS! But it is the ONLY time he played a masterful 4th inns. Whereas Laxman has done it 2 tests in a row - in SL and in Mohali. Plus he made a vital 60-odd in Chennai '01 vs Aus in the 4th inn to help India win that awesome series. Not to mention his incredible 281, which was in the 3rd innings, but still GENIUS. 2) Even Tendulkar has a superior 4th inn track record than Lara & averages close to 40. Peter probably didn't see his LION-HEARTED, even if eventually heart-breaking, 136 in the 4 inn vs. Pak in '99 when Ind fell by 8 runs; and has he already forgotten the masterful 103* on Day 5 vs. Eng in '08 to close that miraculous Chennai chase? In SL, he made 54 on Day 5 in a 100+ partnership with Laxman to help India level the series. Even in Mohali, the man was the 2nd highest scorer in the 4 inn (+ highest scorer for India in the match). And FYI Peter, that "foolish" stroke has earned him loads of runs in the last 5 yrs.

  • on October 7, 2010, 9:51 GMT

    V.V.S.Laxman is one of the greatest no.6 batsmen the world have ever seen....n all time best no.6 batsman for India....

  • on October 7, 2010, 9:42 GMT

    Peter u were quick to point out the lbw of ojha which was given not out but overlooked the lbw of ishant where the ball was clearly going down the leg side

  • cgkirtikar on October 7, 2010, 9:42 GMT

    BRILLIANT ARTICLE ! WELL WRITTEN !!

  • on October 7, 2010, 9:15 GMT

    Very well put! Laxman doesn't plunder against weaker attacks, but holds his own against the strongest. I am confident he will make a tremendous impact in SA as well, given that they have perhaps the best bowling attack atm. His statistics, definitely not jaw-dropping, somehow depict him as a batsman of a bygone era. His numbers are comparable with the likes of David Gower, Mark Waugh, Vengsarkar, even Greenidge & Haynes, - times when there were fewer minnows to cash in against, and pitches not as flat! Statistics however, in his case, just blatantly lie. His runs have been worth their weight in gold, by virtue of the circumstances.

  • nzcricket174 on October 7, 2010, 9:10 GMT

    Get the review system in place. The only reason it didn't work before was because the system was new and the captains did not know how to use them. I mean look, even Salman Butt knows how to use them, that shows how easy it is to get the hang of. Not to take anything away from VVS, but this innings will be another of controversy, things being said like "but if the review system was there things may not have happened the way they did". So I say get the review system in. To BCCI, stop being cry babies and get with it. WE HAVE SEEN IT WORK AND WE KNOW IT WORKS! Takes a huge margin for error from an umpire.

  • JackSparrows on October 7, 2010, 9:06 GMT

    What a masterpiece by Laxman and very well written by Peter Roebuck, very pleasing and a fair article. Laxman and this test match have once again proved how important Test match format is, T20 might be the latest fashion but it will soon run out of passion and excitement that only test cricket promises to deliver over these years.

  • Nutcutlet on October 7, 2010, 9:05 GMT

    Would someone explain to me why Laxman did not receive the Man of the Match award? Actually, I don't like these prima donna moments because they are (a) often contentious, and (b) seem contrary to the concept of cricket as a team game. If there is to be a M of the M, then I think that the captains should be the sole arbiters - post-match, they would nearly always agree, I think - and where they can't, then two Men of the Match cannot be discounted; it is in the spirit of cricket! On another tack entirely, Peter Roebuck, please would you consider submitting an article on great test innings that fell short of the century? Specifically, I would suggest two articles: those that were crucial to the winning of a test, and those that saved a test that seemed lost. A meaty assignment that would nudge cricket appreciation away from its obsession with stats. - some cricket fans need educating!

  • Navillus on October 7, 2010, 9:00 GMT

    People have predicatbly waxed eloquent on the innings. One of the best pieces I have come across is given here:

    http://senantixtwentytwoyards.blogspot.com/2010/10/pull-of-laxman.html

  • Jaggadaaku on October 7, 2010, 8:39 GMT

    Nice Article with all impressive words of description of real Warrior-VVS Laxman.

  • Nutcutlet on October 7, 2010, 8:18 GMT

    A superbly written article that raises some extremely important issues regarding how cricket lovers should view the game. First, all innings are played in context - and this rather obvious observation almost completely invalidates those who are obsessed by stats (and Indian supporters seem especially prone to this). VVS's innings, incapacitated, under enormous pressure - not least on his place in the side - and he plays like the master he is. The character of the man is unquestioned. Secondly, the shortsighted refusal of the Indians to use UDRS could have seriously backfired in many ways. The umpiring decisions, as PR points out, were progressively becoming more suspect, and undoubtedly the enervating heat played a major part in their vulnerability. Had India lost, the outcry would have been loud and long and the umpires (both white!) would have been accused of racism - the last thing cricket needs at the moment. Honour the game India!Use the technology and validate your beloved Stats!

  • on October 7, 2010, 8:00 GMT

    I think the single thread which comes out is his natural sense of leadership.My conclusion is he is the best captain never to have captained India.

  • killappam on October 7, 2010, 7:54 GMT

    brilliant. for the longest time i used to think of him as the weakest link of the fab four. He has proved me wrong, and made me a beleiver. And how ! :)

  • GauravAndCricket on October 7, 2010, 7:54 GMT

    Mr Roebuck, just for your info, there are other Indian players too who have played extremely well in 4th Innings to win the match for India. Eg Sachin & Yuvraj while chasing 387 against England and Dravid in Australia !!!

  • on October 7, 2010, 7:38 GMT

    As usual Peter Roebeck waxes lyrical. Laxman is an enigma in the sense one does not know when he will compose an ode to batting. He does perform with grace under pressure - personal or national. Perhaps the successive admins have not not done enough justice to him by assuring his place in the team. In rare moments he has confessed to the insecurity such policies have created in him. BCCI is a mediocre outfit and has no clue as to how to handle geniuses like Laxman. If only they knew, we would had seen many more splendid efforts from Laxman over the past decade and a half.

  • amit_mangal30 on October 7, 2010, 7:30 GMT

    Well, I am a big big big Sachin fan and deem no less than God. I have wet eyes and almost cry when someone starts bad mouthing him, but even then, the 281 at Calcutta by Laxman is the best of the best I have seen from any Indian, and Laxman goes on to produce such innings, one after another, this being just another tale in his stories, even when we felt like a world championship was won.

  • on October 7, 2010, 7:30 GMT

    Some of the comments that Roebuck makes on Laxman are unwarranted and uncalled for! he seems to be a controversy monger by alleging that "Laxman might have brought the injury into this game" and putting those thoughts in Ricky Ponting's head! Roebuck is hurt by this loss! That is for sure and is looking for ways to calm his hurt! His mindless arguments about Laxman thinking of his averages has no basis at all! I am sorry to say this but this is Peter Roebuck's worst column ever written during his career. Most points raised him do not carry any substance at all and his comparison to Brian Lara is fool hardy! Lara was in a different league and Laxman is all together different. It was like comparing apples with oranges!

  • charlie1863 on October 7, 2010, 7:29 GMT

    What a fantastic & poetic piece of article by Peter Roebuck. It's pure joy reading this piece.

  • alan_kurup on October 7, 2010, 7:28 GMT

    Brilliantly written...One of the better articles on Cricinfo....

  • TheOnlyEmperor on October 7, 2010, 7:20 GMT

    "Sehwag is the exception. It seems the rest don't like the UDRS telling them they are out." Peter should stick to the topic theme instead of driving in the UDRS agenda on the sly. The UDRS lobby is now playing divide and rule card within the Indian team. Let's face it, would the UDRS have given Dhoni not out in the 1st innings? The UDRS is only as good as the camera angles and frames made available and the person's competency in interpreting the info, along with the gaps in the info. Obviously the paradigm of "giving the benefit of doubt to the batsman" went out of the window then. So, UDRS is only as good as the "monkey" interpreting the technology after factoring in all its limitations and flaws. The hawkeye's limitations especially when the ball is pitched close to the bat, because of insufficient data points to project its trajectory, is well known. Obviously, UDRS isn't perfect nor is anybody seeking perfection, so people are entitled to have justified reservations, right Peter?

  • on October 7, 2010, 7:00 GMT

    Roebuck is noramally irresistible on occasions like this....

  • TheOnlyEmperor on October 7, 2010, 6:56 GMT

    "Australia might hereafter be reluctant to allow players to take part in 20-over matches on another continent a few days before the start of a Test series." Peter seems to forget that if Bollinger and Hussey were there right upto the finals, so were Dhoni and Raina. If Bollinger was not fully fit, then so were Laxman and Bhajji. Why these lame excuses?... Laxman compared to his colleagues is a lot composed when the situation gets tough. Sehwag and Sachin, have horrible 2nd innings / 4th-5th day batting records. It's not about the pitch deteriorating, it's about these guys not being up there mentally. That's why Laxman's 2nd innings average makes him valuable to the team. It's not difficult to get Laxman out at all, it's just that the Aussies haven't figured it out. Laxman plays with a lot more focus these days, simply because a bad run can cost him his place permanently with the sort of talent waiting in the wings. Sachin realised too when he opted out of T20, but Ponting?

  • lincoln_black_caps on October 7, 2010, 6:32 GMT

    Both sides have some very special cricketers, in different circumstances. Laxman has the nerves for India, Hussey the equivalent for Australia. It would have been interesting had the UDRS been used, but probably more so because the time those final two decisions were made there was a very good chance that neither side would have had any option to use them as they would most likely have already had their two "wrong" challenges each. Which would have made for an intersting debate in it's own right.

  • VoltaireC on October 7, 2010, 6:27 GMT

    Peter-Very, very appropriate indeed. You took the words from my mouth in comparing this VVS special with Lara's once in a life-time innings....but remember Lara was dropped once in that incredible innings. I am pleased that instead of focusing just focusing on the innings itself you fleshed out the character/talent of Laxman with its rare beauty as well as imperfections. Those of our ilk(Laxman die-hards) are equally frustrated and delighted by our man....give him a weak opposition with no pressure VVS simply loses moorings. On the other hand hint of any real pressure the real VVS shines through brightest! Ever since we really understood this dichotomy of our dear man, we are happy that special Laxman needs special circumstances. Some otherwise great batsmen don't enjoy respect since they flounder under pressure/good fast bowling i must add(Zaheer Abbas comes to mind) so we can't complain too much that Lachi performs when he must(seems like a definition of Genius). Mukul your tunr now!

  • Analytical_Sathya on October 7, 2010, 6:24 GMT

    Laxman's unique style can be attributed to following factors: 1.His Hight and the slightly heavier bat that he uses. 2.His 'waiting for the ball' approach which is only possible if one has got a more patient and calmer mind 3.His magnificent wrist work which it seems can rotate 360 and which allows him to place the ball in whichever direction he wants with minimal footwork and fuss. This is perhaps the major factor which distinguishes him from other premier batsman.

    There are some limitations in his batting which doesn't make him a good one day player: 1.He is not so strong in his bottom handed shots. 2.Rarely can clear the field by making use of the ariel path. 3.Footwork is not that great. 4.All of the above factors contribute in lack of control on the runrate required by the team

  • on October 7, 2010, 6:23 GMT

    Peter Roebuck should not be writing for indian audiences...he smacks of typical high browness and lacks the ability to be fair and balanced in addition not adding any class or artistry so unlike laxman to his writings....almost repelling for an indian fan like me...

  • on October 7, 2010, 6:16 GMT

    Mr. Roebuck, reading your essays is often as enthralling as watching the match being written about. And for us, the unfortunate who missed watching the match your essay is quite enough. To quote John Keats: "Then felt I like some watcher of the skies When a new planet swims into his ken; Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes He star'd at the Pacific--and all his men Look'd at each other with a wild surmise-- Silent, upon a peak in Darien."

    Thank you.

  • HarinderJadwani on October 7, 2010, 6:10 GMT

    The UDRS would also have kept Ishant Sharma at the crease, as Ian Gould gave him out to a delivery that was missing leg stump. Pragyan Ojha would likely not have had to bat and the Billy Bowden mistake would not have happened, and India would have won by 2 wickets.

    According to Dravid, the UDRS needs to be available consistently (i.e. with the same quality of equipment) on all Test venues, and then the Indians would accept it.

  • on October 7, 2010, 6:01 GMT

    well said peter..actually what is the yardstick for greatness? for a barsman in cricket it seems to be the number of runs and the number of centuries scored..the quality of batsmanship is not at all considered.A batsman like vvs laxman gives india more victories than any other player..he has to face tough opponents under difficult circumstances and he delivers each time..his 281 in kolkatha is still considered to be the best innings by an indian batsman.after that innings he has played a lot of inningses under pressure and gave india many victories..laxman is a batsman who plays beautiful shots even without much foot work..he is capable of facing any bowling attack on any track...His class can never be doubted much like his silky wrists..mitchel johnson bowled 2 consecutive deleveries outside the off stump in the last test match at mohali..first one was driven through cover and the second one was flicked through mid wicket..who else on earth can play those shots?

  • rajaiyer on October 7, 2010, 5:53 GMT

    One of the best articles wriiten on Laxman, a highly underrated player. The 2nd consecutive time, he has helped India win, in trying circumstances. I had also sat thru the night and watched Brian Lara score that 150 plus and single handedly won the game for West Indies. Similar errors were committed by the Australians then.

  • on October 7, 2010, 5:44 GMT

    Yes, definitely not for him the mundane and the ordinary, flogging dead hroses is not his game taming lions, yes, locking horns with the bull, yes.

    It is the way he tames them that enthralls and brings goosebumps. As the adage goes 'when the going gets tough the tough get going'.

    Kudos VVS, we are blessed to watch you bat.

    Nice article Peter, i suppose this comes close to explaining the man, VVS is.

  • sgskn on October 7, 2010, 5:42 GMT

    Laxman played good innings to win this match. but remember he played with injury. obviously there is no pressure for him to score runs in this match bcos of that. it helped him a lot. even first ball duck would not made much difference for him. playing with injury and getting runs should not be considered as great

  • mac1980 on October 7, 2010, 5:42 GMT

    An interesting take on India's Very Very Special batsman! And regards the writer's comment on the UDRS overturning Billy Bowden's lbw decision on Ojha, we cannot look at this in isolation. By that logic, Gautam Gambhir and Ishant Sharma's decisions would have also been overturned and India would probably have won much more comfortably! We need to take a holistic perspective.

    And my two bits on the UDRS - I do not think we need it at all! Look at it from this perspective - is it the umpire's job to bowl, bat, field, keep wicket, take catches and effect stumpings? NO! So then why do people think that it is the player's job to make or question umpiring decisions?!?!? The game of cricket has absolutely no need for the UDRS, it will rob cricket entirely of its human element and is completely unnecessary. Umpires are human beings, they can make mistakes and as long as they get 90-95% of the decisions correct, I do not see any problems and see no need whatsoever for any referral system.

  • ram_sachin on October 7, 2010, 5:37 GMT

    Awesome said by the Oz... True fighter in Laxman we saw on that day. There may be Sachin,Dravid,Sehwag who can turn the match flip side down in a span of session. But there's only onne Laxman who can finish the match and well.

    Kudos to Laxman and a beautiful article too .. Thnx Peter

  • Supratik on October 7, 2010, 5:33 GMT

    There are very few writers on cricket like you today! Thanks for a beautful piece.. exactly what goes through one's mind when one sees an innings like this or the one by Lara 12 years ago. The perceptiveness is there in para 8, which makes one wonder what happens to Laxman against any other opponent, and why plays for his averages then, pottering around. It's like a genie that is locked in a bottle and comes out only when the Aussies are around! One hopes that the change that came over in the last Test against Sri Lanka and continued in Mohali remains there for the remainder of his career for this super Hyderabadi.

  • Jim1207 on October 7, 2010, 5:32 GMT

    Talking about the UDRS, the main reason Indian seniors refuse to use is that players have confusion over who uses UDRS and how. In this match, if UDRS was available, surely in a tense match like this all 3 chances would have been already used and nothing different would have happened than what had happened here. So how can someone say that UDRS would have Definitely solved issues in this match! One good solution I can think of is give every batsman each chance to use UDRS and only one chance. Give the opposition to use UDRS against every batsman only once. This way there is no confusion over who would use and everyone would give equal chance of UDRS. If someone has not used, its not to be carried over. Simple and Indians should accept this. And, ICC should share the cost of UDRS and not broadcasters. If giving 11 chances would waste time, then so be it! Why just copy Tennis and have 2 or 3 chances only for an innings? ICC should use brain and make sure everyone arrives at a solution.

  • BatTheCricket on October 7, 2010, 5:28 GMT

    I can't quite fathom if this article is highlighting the immense talent of VVS or is it just a back-handed compliment? I think with a focus on being verbose in the article rather than its quality, Peter Roebuck ends up confusing himself and the reader along with him. Or maybe he's just trying really hard not to reveal how big a fan of VVS he actually is!!

  • 68704 on October 7, 2010, 5:28 GMT

    Lakshman has just won two test matches in a row for India. One against Srilanka and though many of us do not want to accept it, Tendulkar had starts in both innings and yet gave it away. Lakshaman relishes the challenge and more often than not is always equal to the task, The strategy of giving a single to the lead batsman has been a shaky one. I remember way back in the sixties when Sobers and Holford (in his first test match) were trying to salvage the game, the singles given to Sobers were the turing point in the game. I think Australia were overawed by the reputation of Lakshman and mind you , Lakshman against Australia has been nothing short of sensational, I remember his innings at Sydney when everyone else had gone down like nine pins. I think Lakshman"s knock and the fantasitc game are a great antidote to all the muck that Pakistan has thrown up in recent times. Test cricket is safe and will continue to be so in my life time at least! sridhar

  • srikumar_radha on October 7, 2010, 5:27 GMT

    Roebuck at his best! I was waiting for his piece on VVS, the magician. No one more than the Australians rate Laxman the highest. Yesterday, yet again, during the ICC awards, a batsman of Laxman's caliber did not find a place in the ICC World Test XI. The other story is on how Laxman declined an endorsement offer yesterday. Speaks volumes of the man. He knows that his success is because of his single minded devotion to play for the Country. The Country endorses him, he needs nothing else!

  • Mojare on October 7, 2010, 5:09 GMT

    awesome !!!! No one can write about cricket like Peter Roebuck.

  • on October 7, 2010, 5:04 GMT

    Laxman is indeed a hero, a genius, a legend. Undoubtedly he relishes the Aussie bowling attack. But the reason mentioned for the greatest of his performances coming against stronger bowling attacks and not weaker ones is totally unfair, I would say rather insulting for such a great cricketer. Here what we are forgetting is the fact that he usually bats at no.6 and most of the times he comes out to bat, he has a tail-ender at the other end or the innings is about to end. He rarely gets a chance to display his skills. But whenever he gets a chance, he does miracles for INDIA.

  • Emancipator007 on October 7, 2010, 4:57 GMT

    Gary Sobers, Andy Roberts, Malcolm Marshall (from what I remember Colin Croft too on on-air cricket programs during matches) have at different times considered Gavaskar the greatest Test batsman bar none. Both Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards in quite a few private conversations admitted to Gavaskar's all-time great status- purely because they understood the difficulty of doing so well against the WI bowling attacks. Roebuck who would possibly have seen Gavaskar at Somerset where Sunny played for a season with 'Big Bird' Joel Garner in the early 80s is quite well-placed to do an eulogy on the original "Little Master".

  • Emancipator007 on October 7, 2010, 4:55 GMT

    (221 against England at the Oval in 1971with India falling short by just 9 runs while chasing 438, 102 in that famous win against WI chasing 406 and the masterful 96 in his last Test on a minefield of a pitch against Pakistan with India falling excruciatingly short by 16 runs) . He also scored a well-paced 90 in the 1986 Tied test against Australia apart from scoring an unbeaten 67 in India's historic win over the WI in his first Test itself in 1971! Since this is the time of debating and selecting World X1s, the time has come to appreciate Gavaskar's masterful batting, his handling of extreme pace bowling prevalent right through his era and his technical excellence (deliberately understated and under-rated by much of the Anglo media) and his status as possibly the greatest Test batsman after Don Bradman (Tendulkar is undoubtedly the most complete batsman of all time). CONTD.

  • Emancipator007 on October 7, 2010, 4:53 GMT

    Quite amazed (but not too surprised given how much he has loved to watch and admire the quintet of India's famed batsmen-Viru, SRT, Dravid, VVS and Ganguly) at the superb psycho-analysis of Laxman's batting mindset and his persona apart from his actual batting prowess. But Roebuck has done the same quite accurately for SRT, Dravid, Sehwag and Gang too some time back. Peter Roebuck and Ian Chappell are 2 non-Indian/Asian cricket analysts who have always without the typical Anglo-Aussie bias towards Ashes series performers genuinely appreciated India's batting greats and critiqued them when required. I want to point out to fans in their 20s all across the cricketing world that a generation ahead of the incandescent Brian Lara and now VVS (Lara's unbeaten 153 is still etched in memory and the tumultuous scenes at the ground in Barbados), Sunil Gavaskar was indisputably the supreme 4th innings batsman and played 3 of the best in that era with mixed results. CONTD.

  • on October 7, 2010, 4:46 GMT

    Great article, but it's india's right to refuse UDRS, how accurate is hotspot? And isn't it a human who makes the judgement in that case as well? I will live with a loss rather than trust a 3rd human element. Michael Clark's dismissal in the second innings is a great example .....

  • krackXI on October 7, 2010, 4:30 GMT

    looks like cricinfo has only one photo of laxman. sambit's story also has the same photo. earlier, the same pic went along with Laxman's interview after the match.

  • cricconnossieur on October 7, 2010, 4:28 GMT

    There is nobody who rises upto the challenge , in the Indian team, the way VVS Laxman does. He delivered when Indian cricket turned the corner at Kolkata, he delivered when India became the No.1 test team in NZ. That is why I feel India blundered in not taking him to the 2003 world cup. Peter Roebuck has described Laxman like no one ever did, he had waxed lyrical on the mystery and the magic of VVS like no one ever did.

  • on October 7, 2010, 4:18 GMT

    Laxman is a good player NO doubt in that, but best of him comes when he have runner for him :-) Last game he was shouting at Ojha for not running. If Laxman was fit and was taking that run he will be ending the game like Klusener :-) A BIG RUNOUT

  • AB99 on October 7, 2010, 4:16 GMT

    VVS Laxman is the crisis man for Indian cricket who has given a new adage to the term batting with the bowlers at the other end ... be it WIndies, Safrica, Sri Lanka or Australia ... he knows how to get the best out of the lesser batting skills of the bowlers. Pity that the powers did not give him a chance to CAPTAIN Indian team. As a batsman, he is from the old school of Gavaskar, Vengsarkar, etc who would make the opposition earn their victory and miles ahead of Tendulkar, Dravid as finisher to win matches (barring exceptions). It is beyond imagination what he wud have accomplished, if VVS was given the 'permanent' slot that was provided to three of the BIG FOUR. Plus he is a very soft spoken and a pleasing personality that is tough to match. Thank you VVS for all the joy you have provided. I have the answer to my question - who would bat with Brian Lara on a turning track against Warne and Murali - it is VVS. Well done and we look forward to more from you.

  • vswami on October 7, 2010, 4:07 GMT

    " He becomes a hack, a humdrum batsman trying to boost his figures." Ridiculous analysis. Laxman's game is built upon timing for which he needs pace from the ball off the wicket especially on sluggish wickets. He is a better player when the ball is coming on to the bat than when he has to fetch the ball. And he prefers bounce to swing. The Aussie bowlers just dont seem to get it and keep feeding his stengths. Thats why he struggles in the shorter version of the game when he has to go after the ball. The so called "lesser opponents" dont have or give him the pace he needs. And the reason why his figures are lower is because he has to bat with the tail often when he comes in at no. 6. He is a natural stroke player up the order and earlier in his career, the team even tried him as an opener which he didnt feel comfortable with and no. 3 would have been ideal. The team has settled on a batting order combination thats best for the team, not for Dravid, Tendulkar or Laxman.

  • VishaalBhat on October 7, 2010, 3:55 GMT

    <i>"His career has been a compelling tale of greatness remaining locked away in the mind till the call comes and then emerging and laying waste before retreating back into its shell. "</i>

    This for me is the gist of the entire article!

  • kitten on October 7, 2010, 3:54 GMT

    Brilliant article from Peter Roebuck as usual. Except for one small detail towards the end. He mentions that the UDRS system would have certainly overturned the lbw decision not given against the last man. What he fails to mention is, that a little earlier, the other umpire made a wrong decision as well in giving Ishant Sharma out lbw, and millions watching would have also witnessed the same UDRS on appeal, reversing that decision. Which brings the obvious into account. If Ishant was not out in the first place, then Ojha would not have had to come out to bat. India won fair and square, and had their fair share of wrong dismissals as the Aussies did, so no point mentioning only some and not the others. As they say in cricket, you lose some, you win some. What you lose on the swings, you gain on the roundabout. Having said all this, I personally feel the UDRS should be implemented as soon as possible, so there are no grouses at the end.

  • thisgameislife on October 7, 2010, 3:45 GMT

    not sure if laxman agrees with the author, but i like the explanation about his genius needing a kind of condition to flower. brings to my mind the many innings where he made 15-30, beautiful timing from the first ball faced, the defensive strokes as well as the drives each flowing from the sweet spot. it was frustrating that he would get out even when he was in such good nick. but that is the man - just as we take other great batsmen with their individual flaws, we should celebrate laxman's 'lack of foot movement' and 'playing away from the body'. he has scored precisely in the same manner in his many innings of a lifetime (all against aussies), as he has when he got out cheaply. we have always referred to him as 'VVS Makkhan' (butter) among my friends.

  • Homer2007 on October 7, 2010, 3:36 GMT

    With respect Mr Roebuck, per the Laws of Cricket, it is left to the umpires discretion on whether to permit a runner or not (Law 2 - http://www.lords.org/laws-and-spirit/laws-of-cricket/laws/law-2-substitutes-and-runners-batsman-or-fielder-leaving-the-field-batsman-retiring-batsman-commencing-innings,28,AR.html). Given that Laxman was on the field for the duration of the Australian first innings and batted at 10 during the Indian first innings, there was no much Ricky Ponting could have done to prevent Laxman the runner.

    Cheers,

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Homer2007 on October 7, 2010, 3:36 GMT

    With respect Mr Roebuck, per the Laws of Cricket, it is left to the umpires discretion on whether to permit a runner or not (Law 2 - http://www.lords.org/laws-and-spirit/laws-of-cricket/laws/law-2-substitutes-and-runners-batsman-or-fielder-leaving-the-field-batsman-retiring-batsman-commencing-innings,28,AR.html). Given that Laxman was on the field for the duration of the Australian first innings and batted at 10 during the Indian first innings, there was no much Ricky Ponting could have done to prevent Laxman the runner.

    Cheers,

  • thisgameislife on October 7, 2010, 3:45 GMT

    not sure if laxman agrees with the author, but i like the explanation about his genius needing a kind of condition to flower. brings to my mind the many innings where he made 15-30, beautiful timing from the first ball faced, the defensive strokes as well as the drives each flowing from the sweet spot. it was frustrating that he would get out even when he was in such good nick. but that is the man - just as we take other great batsmen with their individual flaws, we should celebrate laxman's 'lack of foot movement' and 'playing away from the body'. he has scored precisely in the same manner in his many innings of a lifetime (all against aussies), as he has when he got out cheaply. we have always referred to him as 'VVS Makkhan' (butter) among my friends.

  • kitten on October 7, 2010, 3:54 GMT

    Brilliant article from Peter Roebuck as usual. Except for one small detail towards the end. He mentions that the UDRS system would have certainly overturned the lbw decision not given against the last man. What he fails to mention is, that a little earlier, the other umpire made a wrong decision as well in giving Ishant Sharma out lbw, and millions watching would have also witnessed the same UDRS on appeal, reversing that decision. Which brings the obvious into account. If Ishant was not out in the first place, then Ojha would not have had to come out to bat. India won fair and square, and had their fair share of wrong dismissals as the Aussies did, so no point mentioning only some and not the others. As they say in cricket, you lose some, you win some. What you lose on the swings, you gain on the roundabout. Having said all this, I personally feel the UDRS should be implemented as soon as possible, so there are no grouses at the end.

  • VishaalBhat on October 7, 2010, 3:55 GMT

    <i>"His career has been a compelling tale of greatness remaining locked away in the mind till the call comes and then emerging and laying waste before retreating back into its shell. "</i>

    This for me is the gist of the entire article!

  • vswami on October 7, 2010, 4:07 GMT

    " He becomes a hack, a humdrum batsman trying to boost his figures." Ridiculous analysis. Laxman's game is built upon timing for which he needs pace from the ball off the wicket especially on sluggish wickets. He is a better player when the ball is coming on to the bat than when he has to fetch the ball. And he prefers bounce to swing. The Aussie bowlers just dont seem to get it and keep feeding his stengths. Thats why he struggles in the shorter version of the game when he has to go after the ball. The so called "lesser opponents" dont have or give him the pace he needs. And the reason why his figures are lower is because he has to bat with the tail often when he comes in at no. 6. He is a natural stroke player up the order and earlier in his career, the team even tried him as an opener which he didnt feel comfortable with and no. 3 would have been ideal. The team has settled on a batting order combination thats best for the team, not for Dravid, Tendulkar or Laxman.

  • AB99 on October 7, 2010, 4:16 GMT

    VVS Laxman is the crisis man for Indian cricket who has given a new adage to the term batting with the bowlers at the other end ... be it WIndies, Safrica, Sri Lanka or Australia ... he knows how to get the best out of the lesser batting skills of the bowlers. Pity that the powers did not give him a chance to CAPTAIN Indian team. As a batsman, he is from the old school of Gavaskar, Vengsarkar, etc who would make the opposition earn their victory and miles ahead of Tendulkar, Dravid as finisher to win matches (barring exceptions). It is beyond imagination what he wud have accomplished, if VVS was given the 'permanent' slot that was provided to three of the BIG FOUR. Plus he is a very soft spoken and a pleasing personality that is tough to match. Thank you VVS for all the joy you have provided. I have the answer to my question - who would bat with Brian Lara on a turning track against Warne and Murali - it is VVS. Well done and we look forward to more from you.

  • on October 7, 2010, 4:18 GMT

    Laxman is a good player NO doubt in that, but best of him comes when he have runner for him :-) Last game he was shouting at Ojha for not running. If Laxman was fit and was taking that run he will be ending the game like Klusener :-) A BIG RUNOUT

  • cricconnossieur on October 7, 2010, 4:28 GMT

    There is nobody who rises upto the challenge , in the Indian team, the way VVS Laxman does. He delivered when Indian cricket turned the corner at Kolkata, he delivered when India became the No.1 test team in NZ. That is why I feel India blundered in not taking him to the 2003 world cup. Peter Roebuck has described Laxman like no one ever did, he had waxed lyrical on the mystery and the magic of VVS like no one ever did.

  • krackXI on October 7, 2010, 4:30 GMT

    looks like cricinfo has only one photo of laxman. sambit's story also has the same photo. earlier, the same pic went along with Laxman's interview after the match.

  • on October 7, 2010, 4:46 GMT

    Great article, but it's india's right to refuse UDRS, how accurate is hotspot? And isn't it a human who makes the judgement in that case as well? I will live with a loss rather than trust a 3rd human element. Michael Clark's dismissal in the second innings is a great example .....