October 10, 2010

The magic of VVS

Laxman has hand-eye coordination that is the envy of surgeons, a competitive drive that his opposition dreads, and the kind of nous good captains need
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The computer had India ranked No. 1 and Australia at 4. The cricket told a different story. India were making mental mistakes, dropping catches and generally fielding poorly, while the Australians combined aggressive running between the wickets with gritty batting and bowling. Then something strange happened.

Well, maybe not that unusual. The sight of a baggy green cap in the foreground and victory off in the distance has an energising affect on VVS Laxman. On those occasions he adds an extra V to his name and becomes Very, Very, Very Special.

Laxman marched out to bat like a straight-backed drill sergeant, but his ailing back didn't stop him putting a bayonet through Australia's victory charge. There was nothing wrong with his eyesight. He had visions of Kolkata and Chennai in 2001, only this time he was eyeing a different style of finish.

India won those two excruciatingly tense matches in 2001, but Laxman wasn't able to celebrate victory with a bat-waving ceremony. In Kolkata it was the bowlers who finished what he'd started, and in Chennai he was robbed of the moment of glory by a brilliant diving catch from the man in the Australian side who most emulated his style - Mark Waugh.

In Mohali, Laxman appeared to be playing in a mid-week industrial league match. Even the irritating back injury wasn't really a concern; he'd already dealt with a similar problem in Sri Lanka, where he had clinched victory with a glorious century. That was one thing he had going for him: he already knew what his limitations were with the back problem and had a fair idea how they could be overcome. That's the most difficult thing for a batsman with an injury. He has to work out what's possible and what isn't. Often the player is back in the pavilion before he's solved the riddle.

Laxman had one other crucial thing going for him in Mohali: his extraordinary hand-eye coordination. If he'd been lost to cricket and become a doctor, as so nearly happened, he'd have been a brilliant surgeon. His ability to middle the ball 99 times out of a hundred stood him in good stead, as he was unable to shift his feet very far. It's an amazing stroke of fate that India has two of the most gifted hand-eye players in one team, with Virender Sehwag another similarly talented player.

Laxman has always been tactically aware; he would have been India's best choice as captain following Sourav Ganguly's successful reign

Utilising his gift to the full, Laxman immediately began scoring at a good rate. This was crucial in the situation because it not only dramatically reduced India's daunting target, it also put the Australian bowlers on the defensive. Where every other Indian batsman had to contend with balls pitched on an awkward length, especially from the tireless Ben Hilfenhaus, Laxman avoided these dangerous deliveries by going on the attack. Hilfenhaus was wary of over-pitching to Laxman because when he did, the ball disappeared through cover or point to the boundary.

It's incredible to think that in his early days this remarkable strokeplayer would often ask, "Have you seen anything wrong with my batting?"

There was no lack of confidence through the whole ordeal in Mohali. Laxman was unflappable until victory beckoned. Then even he became animated and remonstrated with his partners for not completing a crucial run as the deficit dwindled to single figures. This rare display of passion served to reveal the depth of his intense competitive drive.

Laxman's contribution to India's breathtaking victory went way beyond the runs he scored. His decision early on to put his faith in Ishant Sharma's batting ability played a big part in the gangling quickie's vital role in their match-winning partnership. Laxman has always been tactically aware; he would have been India's best choice as captain following Sourav Ganguly's successful reign. He will never captain the team but he'll forever be remembered as India's most prolific match-winning batsman.

After the victory India remained No. 1 and Australia at 4, as recorded by the computer. However, computers only tell you about history; they have no concept of heart. They count Tests but don't account for temperament. You have to see VVS Laxman bat to understand his magic.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is now a cricket commentator and columnist

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY shm310 on | October 13, 2010, 20:08 GMT

    TimmyF_23 comments are typical comments usually coming from Aussies or English ppl. He says that " Watch how the so called 'number one' side in the world crumble away from home when they are playing on pitches in South Africa and England that actually offer something to the bowler"..........Infact in this series we have seen Aussies batting crubmling to classical reverse swing of Zaheer and spin of Ohja and Bhajji.......If the pitches are flat and Indian batsman are flat pitch bullies then what happened to Aussie batsmen? They had advantage of batting first in both the matches however Clarke, Hussey, Katich failed......If Indian team struggles in Australia and England then the Aussies and English teams struggle in India and Sri Lanka....so how are these 2 teams different then Indian team when playing away from home? I think India are much more mentally stronger and Aussies are much less intimidating then what they were few years back

  • POSTED BY on | October 13, 2010, 18:15 GMT

    We need to understand the situation currently existing in World Cricket is better than that was before when West Indies and Australia were dominating. During that time we have only one team clearly the No. 1 and other teams were not able to match them in all the departments. But currently we have 3 to 5 teams competing with equal strengths which makes the contest interesting. And also on the current position with the cricket rankings, I think as of now India is the current best team around and they e No. 1, but with the number of test series that will be played soon like Ind Vs SA and Ind Vs Eng and Ind Vs Aus in Australia later, India needs to win these contests to be clear favourites as no.1. But as of now we cant predict any top 5 teams having clear advantage over others, that makes the game interesting, we will have more even contests.

  • POSTED BY wysiwyg10 on | October 13, 2010, 16:42 GMT

    Listen to Ian's words of wisdom. Ian, can you just get lost? You always come up with nonsensical theories! If you cannot digest the fact that AU is #5 and IN is #1, just quit cricket. For once have you appreciate IN for its achievements? Grow up, kid!

  • POSTED BY TimmyF_23 on | October 13, 2010, 13:56 GMT

    Absolutely agree with the final statement. That "by the computer" India are number one. Only on points recieved for victories (how many matches do India play against poor opposition in comparison to AUS, ENG and Sth AFR-adding on points on the computer system). Watch how the so called 'number one' side in the world crumble away from home when they are playing on pitches in South Africa and England that actually offer something to the bowler. It will be a joke and India will be thrashed, mark my words! India's flat track bullies transform into tailenders as soon as the pitch begins to do anything.

  • POSTED BY on | October 13, 2010, 2:45 GMT

    When Australia were number 1 - They are just No 1 and the computer did not select them, but when India are number 1 - "The computer selected India as No 1".. - Chappell.. however cynical you try to be, you cannot deny the fact that India is No 1 and beat australia fair and square. You are showing that Australia are bad losers and have this fake superiority attitude.. Grow up Chappell...

  • POSTED BY Navillus on | October 12, 2010, 12:39 GMT

    Why get drawn into all these Dravid vs Laxman, Laxman vs Tendulkar and Tendulkar vs Dravid debates. The three are great players in their own right and have chaperoned Indian batting for a decade or two ... Each one has rendered yeoman's service to the nation. We must accept all the heroes for what they have achieved, and that together amounts to putting India on number 1 of the test playing nations. http://senantixtwentytwoyards.blogspot.com/2010/10/nation-walks-with-sachin.html and http://senantixtwentytwoyards.blogspot.com/2010/10/pull-of-laxman.html showcase two complementary faces of the same coin that is great middle order of India.

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | October 12, 2010, 7:45 GMT

    Continued. Not that it matters to the Master. After all, he's been in the game for 21 years. He simply lets his bat do the talking. Whether it's Tests, ODIs or even T20, he's just been awesome, getting better and better with age: ICC Cricketer of the Year; 14,000 runs; 49th Test century (superb 214). Significantly, India is expected to win/draw the hotly-contested series with a formidable Australian side, which would validate its top Test ranking. Yet Ian continues to be in denial. Well then, let's issue him a challenge: Ask him to look into the "honest mirror" just like he had once asked of Sachin. And what will he see? A pretty face? Or one covered with egg? Or perhaps he can learn from the Sarah Murdoch episode: Horrified by her TV gaffe, she interrupted the celebration, promptly apologized and awarded the prize to the rightful winner. A face-saving act. Can we expect Chappell to do the same? Don't know. Wait and see what he writes in his next column.

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | October 12, 2010, 7:26 GMT

    Continued. It's just easier and saves Ian the pain of giving credit, however deserving the party. Case in point: India's #1 Test ranking. It did not happen overnight; it took a whole decade or more. As you well know, India's ascendancy was built on the backs of its cricketers: its elite veterans like Ganguly, Tendulkar, Dravid, Kumble & Laxman; and by younger stars like Sehwag, Dhoni, Zaheer, Harbhajan & Co. Importantly, they were guided by two of the best coaches in the business: John Wright initially and now Gary Kirsten. Ironically, this trajectory to the top took off not long after Ian's infamous beauty contest and, coincidentally, his brother Greg's dismissal as India's coach. Team India has marched on. Yes, Ian has sung the praises selectively of Indian cricketers -- Sehwag the Destroyer; VVS the Magician. Yet one can't help but notice the "default' button on Tendulkar, whom cricket-lovers the world over consider to be the best and most respected cricketer of the modern era. TBC

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | October 12, 2010, 7:15 GMT

    What do Sarah Murdoch and Ian Chappell have in common? Both blew it big time. Murdoch mistakenly announced the wrong winner while hosting "Australia's Next Top Model" TV show last month. Likewise, Chappell a few years ago foolishly asked Sachin Tendulkar to retire from cricket in his silly "Mirror, mirror on the wall" beauty contest. As the sole self-proclaimed judge/jury/expert, he declared Brian Lara the "best batsman of all." Again last year Chappell prematurely anointed JP Duminy as the Next Big Thing. No offense to JP, but Ian should know better: It takes a batsman much longer than a season or two, maybe a decade, to prove himself to be even worthy of comparison to a Ponting or a Lara or a Tendulkar. Sorry, Chappell is losing his credibility: His columns are disingenuous at best, and egotistic at worst. And what's so obvious lately is his propensity to choose a convenient "default" position, characterized by his "Computers-are-unreliable / Trust-me / I-know-it-all" attitude. TBC

  • POSTED BY on | October 12, 2010, 5:12 GMT

    All is well that ends well.... If India had lost they would criticise Laxman not to take strike more often and gave it to Ishant and bad back was a problem and it was difficult for Laxman to play till the end... so and so. But now as India has won everyone is praising Laxman so as Ian

  • POSTED BY shm310 on | October 13, 2010, 20:08 GMT

    TimmyF_23 comments are typical comments usually coming from Aussies or English ppl. He says that " Watch how the so called 'number one' side in the world crumble away from home when they are playing on pitches in South Africa and England that actually offer something to the bowler"..........Infact in this series we have seen Aussies batting crubmling to classical reverse swing of Zaheer and spin of Ohja and Bhajji.......If the pitches are flat and Indian batsman are flat pitch bullies then what happened to Aussie batsmen? They had advantage of batting first in both the matches however Clarke, Hussey, Katich failed......If Indian team struggles in Australia and England then the Aussies and English teams struggle in India and Sri Lanka....so how are these 2 teams different then Indian team when playing away from home? I think India are much more mentally stronger and Aussies are much less intimidating then what they were few years back

  • POSTED BY on | October 13, 2010, 18:15 GMT

    We need to understand the situation currently existing in World Cricket is better than that was before when West Indies and Australia were dominating. During that time we have only one team clearly the No. 1 and other teams were not able to match them in all the departments. But currently we have 3 to 5 teams competing with equal strengths which makes the contest interesting. And also on the current position with the cricket rankings, I think as of now India is the current best team around and they e No. 1, but with the number of test series that will be played soon like Ind Vs SA and Ind Vs Eng and Ind Vs Aus in Australia later, India needs to win these contests to be clear favourites as no.1. But as of now we cant predict any top 5 teams having clear advantage over others, that makes the game interesting, we will have more even contests.

  • POSTED BY wysiwyg10 on | October 13, 2010, 16:42 GMT

    Listen to Ian's words of wisdom. Ian, can you just get lost? You always come up with nonsensical theories! If you cannot digest the fact that AU is #5 and IN is #1, just quit cricket. For once have you appreciate IN for its achievements? Grow up, kid!

  • POSTED BY TimmyF_23 on | October 13, 2010, 13:56 GMT

    Absolutely agree with the final statement. That "by the computer" India are number one. Only on points recieved for victories (how many matches do India play against poor opposition in comparison to AUS, ENG and Sth AFR-adding on points on the computer system). Watch how the so called 'number one' side in the world crumble away from home when they are playing on pitches in South Africa and England that actually offer something to the bowler. It will be a joke and India will be thrashed, mark my words! India's flat track bullies transform into tailenders as soon as the pitch begins to do anything.

  • POSTED BY on | October 13, 2010, 2:45 GMT

    When Australia were number 1 - They are just No 1 and the computer did not select them, but when India are number 1 - "The computer selected India as No 1".. - Chappell.. however cynical you try to be, you cannot deny the fact that India is No 1 and beat australia fair and square. You are showing that Australia are bad losers and have this fake superiority attitude.. Grow up Chappell...

  • POSTED BY Navillus on | October 12, 2010, 12:39 GMT

    Why get drawn into all these Dravid vs Laxman, Laxman vs Tendulkar and Tendulkar vs Dravid debates. The three are great players in their own right and have chaperoned Indian batting for a decade or two ... Each one has rendered yeoman's service to the nation. We must accept all the heroes for what they have achieved, and that together amounts to putting India on number 1 of the test playing nations. http://senantixtwentytwoyards.blogspot.com/2010/10/nation-walks-with-sachin.html and http://senantixtwentytwoyards.blogspot.com/2010/10/pull-of-laxman.html showcase two complementary faces of the same coin that is great middle order of India.

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | October 12, 2010, 7:45 GMT

    Continued. Not that it matters to the Master. After all, he's been in the game for 21 years. He simply lets his bat do the talking. Whether it's Tests, ODIs or even T20, he's just been awesome, getting better and better with age: ICC Cricketer of the Year; 14,000 runs; 49th Test century (superb 214). Significantly, India is expected to win/draw the hotly-contested series with a formidable Australian side, which would validate its top Test ranking. Yet Ian continues to be in denial. Well then, let's issue him a challenge: Ask him to look into the "honest mirror" just like he had once asked of Sachin. And what will he see? A pretty face? Or one covered with egg? Or perhaps he can learn from the Sarah Murdoch episode: Horrified by her TV gaffe, she interrupted the celebration, promptly apologized and awarded the prize to the rightful winner. A face-saving act. Can we expect Chappell to do the same? Don't know. Wait and see what he writes in his next column.

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | October 12, 2010, 7:26 GMT

    Continued. It's just easier and saves Ian the pain of giving credit, however deserving the party. Case in point: India's #1 Test ranking. It did not happen overnight; it took a whole decade or more. As you well know, India's ascendancy was built on the backs of its cricketers: its elite veterans like Ganguly, Tendulkar, Dravid, Kumble & Laxman; and by younger stars like Sehwag, Dhoni, Zaheer, Harbhajan & Co. Importantly, they were guided by two of the best coaches in the business: John Wright initially and now Gary Kirsten. Ironically, this trajectory to the top took off not long after Ian's infamous beauty contest and, coincidentally, his brother Greg's dismissal as India's coach. Team India has marched on. Yes, Ian has sung the praises selectively of Indian cricketers -- Sehwag the Destroyer; VVS the Magician. Yet one can't help but notice the "default' button on Tendulkar, whom cricket-lovers the world over consider to be the best and most respected cricketer of the modern era. TBC

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | October 12, 2010, 7:15 GMT

    What do Sarah Murdoch and Ian Chappell have in common? Both blew it big time. Murdoch mistakenly announced the wrong winner while hosting "Australia's Next Top Model" TV show last month. Likewise, Chappell a few years ago foolishly asked Sachin Tendulkar to retire from cricket in his silly "Mirror, mirror on the wall" beauty contest. As the sole self-proclaimed judge/jury/expert, he declared Brian Lara the "best batsman of all." Again last year Chappell prematurely anointed JP Duminy as the Next Big Thing. No offense to JP, but Ian should know better: It takes a batsman much longer than a season or two, maybe a decade, to prove himself to be even worthy of comparison to a Ponting or a Lara or a Tendulkar. Sorry, Chappell is losing his credibility: His columns are disingenuous at best, and egotistic at worst. And what's so obvious lately is his propensity to choose a convenient "default" position, characterized by his "Computers-are-unreliable / Trust-me / I-know-it-all" attitude. TBC

  • POSTED BY on | October 12, 2010, 5:12 GMT

    All is well that ends well.... If India had lost they would criticise Laxman not to take strike more often and gave it to Ishant and bad back was a problem and it was difficult for Laxman to play till the end... so and so. But now as India has won everyone is praising Laxman so as Ian

  • POSTED BY 777aditya on | October 12, 2010, 4:18 GMT

    "Posted by Mark00 on (October 11 2010, 01:45 AM GMT) Is it public information if there have been any low-caste Indian cricket captains?"

    I wonder how the above comment has not been removed yet? it is in real bad taste

    Ian, contrary to guru Greg, has always been a huge Indian fan - so tihs article was kind of on expected lines, good one though

  • POSTED BY on | October 12, 2010, 4:17 GMT

    Big deal. VVS wins one game and he is a god to Indians. So sorry that this nation is so victory deprived and such a nation of underperformers...

    Check this out: A nation of 1.3 billion people vs a nation of 18 million people whose ancestors were convicts from England, by the way.

    Way to go India. I am waiting for you to celebrate thrashing the hell out of the Maldive islanders in Basket ball.

  • POSTED BY cricPassion2009 on | October 12, 2010, 0:34 GMT

    Good article from Ian. VVSL will never make a 10,000 runs in tests. He will atleast be glad for this kind of compliments floating around.

    Very nice and humorous of Ian to say 'The sight of a baggy green cap in the foreground and victory off in the distance has an energising affect on VVS Laxman. On those occasions he adds an extra V to his name and becomes Very, Very, Very Special.'

  • POSTED BY knowledge_eater on | October 11, 2010, 17:25 GMT

    In Reply to Mark00 and Pongapandit : Is it public information if there have been anyone should care about these things in 2010? Especially, at least Cricket should be immune to this manipulative stunts. Peace.

  • POSTED BY on | October 11, 2010, 17:01 GMT

    I think laxman is better than ponting....

  • POSTED BY on | October 11, 2010, 15:39 GMT

    Mr Chappel seemed to be in a haste, when drawing conclusions of India being No 1 ranked team & Aussies being No 4 only due to mathematics of computer . After the results of 2nd Test he will be compelled to eat his words, which i am sure will taste bad for him. The result of 2nd test will show very clearly who is the REAL BOSS in World Test Cricket

  • POSTED BY PlayOnlyCricket on | October 11, 2010, 15:18 GMT

    in reply to Mark00's question - Is it public information if there have been any non-Christian Australian cricket captains?

  • POSTED BY HarishVS on | October 11, 2010, 15:12 GMT

    Well said @vineetkarthi. One of the best thought out and intelligent and timely comments we ever get to see in this forum for this kind of article on India's No.1 rating. I hope Ian would see these comments and try to mend himself to some extent. But apart from his words on No.1 and No.4 test sides, this piece of writing is again as brilliant as ever!

  • POSTED BY Navillus on | October 11, 2010, 15:08 GMT

    The only problem with Laxman is ... after every remarkable innings, his body refuses to heal smoothly ... And then for all the genius and the words of praise, it is back to the old reliable for delivering the team from danger ... as this article points out ... http://senantixtwentytwoyards.blogspot.com/2010/10/nation-walks-with-sachin.html I am so glad at having discovered this writer ... peerless

  • POSTED BY Kunal-Talgeri on | October 11, 2010, 10:46 GMT

    @manasvi_lingam: In Ian Chappell's writings and commentary, he has always beheld the elegant batsmen, as opposed to the efficient and functional batsmen. Maybe, it is a price of being brother to Greg who was also an elegant batsmen. But seriously, Chappelli has always had a soft spot for beautiful batsmanship -- in recent years, Mark Waugh, Damien Martyn and Laxman. It isn't to take anything away from the likes of Tendulkar and Dravid.

    @Ian Chappell: I think you renamed VVS as Very, Very Special some years ago. Thanks for another wonderful ode to a batsman who has done cricket proud.

  • POSTED BY Navillus on | October 11, 2010, 10:27 GMT

    I guess instead of the numbers and rankings, we need to see the cricket of Laxman and the small number of batsmen like him with our hearts. Damien Martin and Mark Waugh were two Australian players who approached close to the surreal sphere of artistry inhabited by Laxman. This beauty of the batting of Laxman evokes articles such as this absolutely brilliant one: http://senantixtwentytwoyards.blogspot.com/2010/10/pull-of-laxman.html

  • POSTED BY Psyc_s on | October 11, 2010, 9:58 GMT

    @arvin-you made me laughing mad with that chappal comments, Thanks mate. Mr. Chappell thinks that he is doing a Mark Anthony but he is no where near. Whether the computer tells or the whole world tell that India is number one, do Mr. Chappell accept that? He always want to create some sensation with whatever he posts in here.

  • POSTED BY BRNUGGET on | October 11, 2010, 7:53 GMT

    Another typical lovely write up from the master of words, Ian Chappell. He sums up his views as well as he used to captain and bat for Australia. Never one to simply extol a player simply for the heck of it, his sum up is truly marvelous. VVS is a master bat, one of the India's finest ever batters and also one of the finest of all times, a lovely sight to watch when in full cry, he has the knack to make batting look simply ridiculously easy. The no of times he has done that ag Australia and in times of crisis has become part of cricket folklore. He remains along with that other master stroke player, G R Visvnath, a truly fascinating stylish player to watch when in full cry

  • POSTED BY HalloweenJack on | October 11, 2010, 7:28 GMT

    VVS's great innings was helped by Ponting's inept captaincy.

  • POSTED BY on | October 11, 2010, 6:29 GMT

    Yes Ian, the reason for it being a close match was because India didn't play well :)

  • POSTED BY Saad_Parekh on | October 11, 2010, 4:03 GMT

    Grow up guys, will you? Learn to accept criticism. It was a fact that Australia was a better team in the test and India made the errors. You cant accept a no1 team to drop dolly catches, can you? India team have improved over 2 and a half year coz they have learnt to accept criticism. Zaheer Khan was booted out of the team and the move benefited him and the team. You cant see him being a player close to anywhere as he is now if he wasn't removed from the team. Same goes with Sehwag. It is about time that as cricket fans we grow up and learn to accept criticism.

  • POSTED BY SachIsTheBattingGod on | October 11, 2010, 3:47 GMT

    This article seems rather hastily put together Ian. We have come to expect a lot more from you. Take two pages if you like, and an extra day or two. You usually have something(s) to say, don't let space or time constrain you.

  • POSTED BY on | October 11, 2010, 3:37 GMT

    Yes, what a player. It is always the ability to come good in the big match occasion that will separate the men from the boys. For the second time in two consecutive test Lakshman has come to the party and thank God for that! India are shaky and have a poor bowling attack and we need to remember that these matches are being played at home, where traditionally we have been kings. If you compare this match and the one currently happening at Bengaluru, Australia despite being a much weaker team and being in transition is still playing much better though a certain VVS laskhman has stood in their way again. I think India quickly needs a couple of fast bowlers who can support Zaheer if we are to hold on to our no i status and Ian is right the gap between 1 and 4 is not very big and this test demonstrates the need for India to be constantly on its toes. But what a game of cricket we had and what an unsung hero we have in Lakshman sridhar

  • POSTED BY Mark00 on | October 11, 2010, 2:45 GMT

    Is it public information if there have been any low-caste Indian cricket captains?

  • POSTED BY on | October 11, 2010, 2:03 GMT

    I guess Mr.Chapell has been in commenting on cricket for almost 3 to 4 decades but it's really unusual that he doesn't believe in team work. We are agree that Laxman played key role for India to cross the line but what about other members who did their bit for India to even reach this position? Australians are always obsessed with a fact that they can't be defeated by teams but are defeated at times by super humans. What a joke?

  • POSTED BY Shuabies on | October 11, 2010, 1:52 GMT

    I think some of you are reading far too much into Ian's comments re the ranking system. I think all he was saying is that the rankings did not reflect the closeness of this fantastic test match & are often irrelevant to the contestants. As far as his praise for VVS I couldn't agree more. As an Australian I was never comfortable that we would win whilst VVS was there ( even more so than Tendulkar) having seen him destroy us a couple of times before in pressure situations. He is glorious to watch & his rubber wrists will never cease to amaze me. I would watch him bat any day of the week. Back to the test rankings ever so briefly though. Sri Lanka 3 Australia 4? Please.

  • POSTED BY on | October 11, 2010, 1:29 GMT

    VVS..the champ continues as only he can !!!

  • POSTED BY rko_rules on | October 11, 2010, 0:28 GMT

    I am missing Ian Chappell's commentary in this series. His minds works like computer in Cricket. I wanna meet him once in my life. Bear Grylls is the other person whom I want to meet, but Ian Chappell comes first.

  • POSTED BY KiranAllu on | October 10, 2010, 23:50 GMT

    Quiet an impressive article and I always admired Mr.Chappell's comments no matter what everyone else said. It was only days after he has written an article on CRICINFO in 2008 suggesting the Indian selectors to include Sehwag in the Test team to Australia, Vengsarkar and Co opened their eyes. As a matter of fact Sehwag should be indebted to Mr.Chappel as that tour turned out to be definitely a re-birth to him.

    Coming to this article, his prolific batting against the kangaroos over the last 10 years has brought VVS such an enormous fame in Australia; I would not be wondered if he is offered to be their batting coach post retirement. 12 years back, I remember him starting his day at the Zymkhana, Secunderabad sharp at 6 AM with a similar discipline and commitment that he showed at Mohali last week. I hope his back injury does not turn out to be a decisive factor in India winning this test series. Good luck team India.

  • POSTED BY AKR5 on | October 10, 2010, 21:57 GMT

    Ridiculous the point that says India has prove to be number 1 .. that is a ranking that is simply based on the performances in the last 3 years .. in that time, india have beaten england in england, NZ in NZ, WI in WI and everyone at home. Aus have lost in Eng and India as well as SA at home. SA have lost to Aus at home, eng at home and away ! So while teams are close to each other in the rankings, clearly India are number one. They can continue to call themselves number one without doubt until they lose enough series' for the other teams to cross them ! How does losing to SA or Aus in their countries make them the number one ? It's just that these teams will continue to be at each others throats and the team that puts a string of good performances with others will move on to become the number one ... as if people dont understand performances !

  • POSTED BY arvin on | October 10, 2010, 18:33 GMT

    very very selfish laxman as captain... chappal brothers think alike... greg wanted kartik as captain... someday these 2 need to be presented with garland of chappals for such wisdom... but then they are aussies and will write whatever it takes to make indian team weak and divided as india is the country which ended aussies supermacy in cricket...

  • POSTED BY montys_muse on | October 10, 2010, 17:52 GMT

    Well, India needs to sort out its bowling issues before truly being labeled as no.1. As for batting, the future looks bleak...Raina and Gambhir are yet to sort out their short-ball problems. And the rest of the younsters are iffy. Hope that Pujara brings that bite into India's future middle order.

  • POSTED BY CricketPissek on | October 10, 2010, 17:38 GMT

    if ppl are bored of reading articles about laxman, read something else! seriously

  • POSTED BY AmitRaiVns on | October 10, 2010, 15:49 GMT

    Why Mr Ian Chappel is repeating this sentence again and again "India remained No. 1 and Australia at 4, as recorded by the computer".He is not feeling comfortable with india's nuber one position. Thank God computer is not the Mr Chappel otherwise india would never be number 1.

  • POSTED BY purnanandam on | October 10, 2010, 15:44 GMT

    Ian Chappel is an astute cricketman as a player,captain,commentator and writer. Exactly identical comments were made by Peter Roebuck of Somerset if I am not mistaken so many years ago about VVS and how he would have made a BRILLIANT CAPTAIN for INDIA if chosen. His call for elevation of VVS was even before Gangulys stint. Alas, as Chappel now rightly surmises the time has passed and the moment may never come for VVS to exhibit another facet of his cricketing abilities- leadership qualities. The steel of the mind and the artistry of the batting lend additional foundations for the timely aggression that is somuch a part of a successful captaincy.

  • POSTED BY Quazar on | October 10, 2010, 15:38 GMT

    Lots of good points, Ian. But you miss mentioning 2 very important points while assessing India in this test -- and 2 points that show why India deserve to be NO. 1: 1) India beat Australia despite JUST 9 MEN in their 1st innings given that Ishant got injured after ~8 overs and Laxman batted at no.11 and was simply too stiff to bat. 2) India won despite losing the toss and batting 4th, which is an extremely difficult task on Indian pitches. In fact, this was the 7th or 8th highest total EVER that India chased down in a test. So the computer is absolutely right at present -- India are deservedly No. 1 in Tests!

  • POSTED BY Laxyvick on | October 10, 2010, 14:26 GMT

    Good article. Most of the great Indian batsmen of recent times possess this quality of hand eye coordination. The genius of Laxman is in the poetry of batsmanship.

    This has been peerlessly captured in this article :

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

    Thanks Navillus for pointing it out.

  • POSTED BY itzvinay on | October 10, 2010, 14:11 GMT

    @Navillus...agree with you completely...there have been many articles on Laxman in the past few days and each article had a unique perspective attached to it...but the most brilliant of them is written by this guy only...high quality writing with the presence of both mind and heart...http://senantixtwentytwoyards.blogspot.com/2010/10/pull-of-laxman.html

  • POSTED BY Kaze on | October 10, 2010, 14:05 GMT

    Of course Australia will always be better than India, if I think it is so then that is what it is, doesn't matter who says what. Coke or Pepsi ?

  • POSTED BY Navillus on | October 10, 2010, 12:46 GMT

    Yet another well written article on Laxman's innings. Ian Chappel brings the insider's difference among all the different articles posted on cricinfo after Mohali. But my favourite still remains this one. Extraordinary use of words ... http://senantixtwentytwoyards.blogspot.com/2010/10/pull-of-laxman.html

  • POSTED BY timmyw on | October 10, 2010, 12:22 GMT

    I think the message that Mr. Chappell was trying to convey was that we had two teams evenly matched in this game. The rankings weren't worth a load of old tosh. It took a feat of something that amounts to genius to stop Australia's win here. The only thing that matters was that the game was awesome to watch. In the end the difference between the two sides was some magic from a brilliant player. Isn't that how it is supposed to be? It had nothing to do with India being better or Australia being the better side. I for one am extremely happy to finally see some excellent cricket from two balanced teams.

  • POSTED BY on | October 10, 2010, 12:19 GMT

    Every article on that majestic innings at Mohali includes atleast one mention of Laxman remonstrating with Ojha. Ok, so it was a rare instance of Laxman losing his cool, of the 'competitive nous' behind the ice man...all said and done, get over it! It doesn't need to be mentioned over and over again!

  • POSTED BY on | October 10, 2010, 12:12 GMT

    Who has been the NEMESIS EXTRAORDINAIRE for Australia - Botham, Flintoff, Harbhajan Singh , VVS Laxman?. But its only VVS Laxman who brings an air of serenity and elegance, yet that undying competitive streak. The exuberance of passion is rarely displayed by VVS barring that incident in final moments of Mohali test.

  • POSTED BY addiemanav on | October 10, 2010, 11:46 GMT

    sorry to all those ppl who feel that too much is being written about indian cricket and cricketers on cricinfo..well the financial clout of bcci is working here..cant help it..if u dont like reading about the indian team who has the 2nd best record in the last 10yrs after australia outside home then u can gracefully shift to some other cricket site where they can praise your players with complete disregard for players of other countries..also i think ian chappell is really pushing the ranking argument too much..his last few articles hav been centered around this very topic..maybe he needs to open up more!!

  • POSTED BY vineetkarthi on | October 10, 2010, 10:59 GMT

    Ian Chappel makes a good point about computer rankings - besides winning, the West Indian teams under Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards conducted themselves with grace and dignity. Australian cricket would be the perfect antonym to grace and dignity. And if the ICC had enforced a strict code of conduct and banned sledging many (in)famous Australian cricketers would have been consigned to the dustbins of history. But the computer did not know this either. So it kept referring to Aus as No.1 without bothering about the methods used to win matches. As for the Sydney test, only cricket ignoramuses and computers would say Australia won it.

  • POSTED BY arunrajaram on | October 10, 2010, 10:08 GMT

    Dear Mr. Chappell, I have always admired your cricketing knowledge and the intelligent comments you make. Though most part of the article is well written, I don't understand what message are you trying to convey in stating the rankings. Australia's decline is very visible in the last 3 years and they doesn't deserve to be No.1. Computers does ascertain human feelings, but it is meant for analysis and tracking results. These are the same set of computers which stated Australia as No.1 team when they were at their peak. Please accept that India are a better team than Australia and the ranking reflects that.

  • POSTED BY on | October 10, 2010, 9:52 GMT

    Laxman as captain - we missed that one. Sorry VVS.

  • POSTED BY on | October 10, 2010, 9:33 GMT

    As always, Chappel rates Austrailia to be a better team than India. A team that scores 70 runs in around 50 overs on day 1 on a non-turning pitch in India doesn't deserve even to be on the 4th position.

  • POSTED BY on | October 10, 2010, 9:30 GMT

    just something I couldn't resist myself from commenting... when india played australia in the last 10 years, they were always #1. computer said they were #1, but india were anywhere from 2 to 5. Still most of the series were dominated by india.. and dont forget sydney test..probably that test was reversed in mohali...a poetic justice without much of controversy..

  • POSTED BY PierreC on | October 10, 2010, 9:14 GMT

    Why does every single article on cricinfo have something to do with India and how amazing their players are? If they are really that great then should start winning away from home, but thats not going to happen because all their so called "great" players cant play on green bouncy wickets. Its seriously getting very tiring cricinfo, get something else to wright about.....

  • POSTED BY shiby on | October 10, 2010, 9:12 GMT

    Iian u r Very Very Special written about Luxman. Unbelievable that happened! Man Luxman prove again nothing is impossible! His approach very positive & no anxiety, when Dhoni's un-necessary ran out, call for a single. I am very excited with VVS Luxman innings! Rarely played same innings former Cap Azhar for a nation's victory. The time being VVSL's is also preferable for IND Cap in Test Cricket. Dhoni enough to carry on ODI & TT as well.

  • POSTED BY manasvi_lingam on | October 10, 2010, 8:06 GMT

    Fine article by Chappell but I have always he favoured Laxman and Sehwag above equally great players such as Kumble, Dravid and Tendulkar. Nevertheless, Laxman deserves all the praise because he is India's best ever No.6, better than Hazare as well.

  • POSTED BY on | October 10, 2010, 8:01 GMT

    The computer had India ranked No. 1 and Australia at 4. Typical mechanical Aussi. It was australia who lost the match not the compuer...mr chapple. There is not any difference between these two chapple brothers. Both are mehanical and both simply can't accept their own failures.

  • POSTED BY on | October 10, 2010, 7:59 GMT

    computers only tell you about history; they have no concept of heart. They count Tests but don't account for temperament..................very well said........

  • POSTED BY sundarb on | October 10, 2010, 7:36 GMT

    Too much of VVS has made me very very sick :). I thought Ian Chappell would write about the captain's perspective (critique Punter and Dhoni's captaincy style) rather than contribute to a 4th article on VVS..where the previous 3 has been written by none other than Sambit Bal, Peter Roebuck and Harsha Bhogle..this is ridiculous.

  • POSTED BY on | October 10, 2010, 7:34 GMT

    a) sounds as if Cricinfo has decided who was its Man of Match, and then asked its writers to focus on Laxman.

    b) Chappels have always deserved chappals. thats known to most.

  • POSTED BY henchart on | October 10, 2010, 7:28 GMT

    I would agree with those who see this article as a veiled attempt by Ian to begrudge India their No.1 Test status.But it hardly matters rather it doesnt matter if Ian doesnt think of India as No.1 test side.Any rational follower of the game would know that India ,England and South Africa are the sides who need to play each other for deciding the best test side ,at present.Indians are touring SA later in the year.Let us wait and see how Raina and Gambhir play in Kingsmead or Wanderers against Ntini,Steyn and Morkel.Let them conquer SA and justify their No.1 test status .Till then doubting Thomases will always rake the issue of Indians being flat track bullies ,not touring requently beyond the Sub continent etc etc .

  • POSTED BY on | October 10, 2010, 7:25 GMT

    totally agree with you .laxmanhas gone unnoticed many times but when it comes to batting in such situations,there's only laxman.he's also an excellent 2nd innings batsman.unfortunate that he's not been a part of any world cup.

  • POSTED BY D.Sharma on | October 10, 2010, 7:05 GMT

    HAHAHAHHAA some people are complaing that there are too many articles on one of the best ever match winners for India. But when another certain Indian gets tons of articles published a week no one complains. Dont worry people, this certain cricketer is soon going to cross a magnificent milestone soon. Let Laxman have his well deserved spotlight, at least for a few days.

  • POSTED BY on | October 10, 2010, 7:00 GMT

    @ Dhrubajyoti Das, there can be no double standards. If you want fewer articles on Laxman, then there should also be fewer articles on Tendulkar - I know I'm sick to death of hearing about him.

  • POSTED BY RaghuramanR on | October 10, 2010, 6:28 GMT

    I think one critical point about Hyderabad players like Azharuddin and Laxman is their scoring rate which is high compared to these 'technique' oriented players. Laxman's skill is accentuated more because of his scoring rate, especially his penchant for boundaries. Both Azharudding and Laxman are not known as 'big hitters' or 'six hitters', but their scoring rate puts a lot of pressure in the opposition. I like to recall Azhar's innings in Cape Town against Donald and co in the company of Sachin. Barry Richards said in the commentary box said that at that rate, they may well score 700-800 runs in a single day :))

  • POSTED BY ProdigyA on | October 10, 2010, 6:21 GMT

    After VVS' special innings there were quite a few articles on how good Laxman is. Ive read all of them and would say that this one from Ian is the best.

  • POSTED BY on | October 10, 2010, 6:07 GMT

    "After the victory India remained No. 1 and Australia at 4, as recorded by the computer".. Why question the ranking system only now Ian? Wasn't Aus enjoying the same ranking system for almost a decade?! Yet another article, so distinctly showing your Aussie partisanship!!

  • POSTED BY CJworld on | October 10, 2010, 5:45 GMT

    Its an Excellent article with veiled attempts to point out the illusional australian supremacy. Mr chappel please do come to terms with the fact that india is number 1 and stop cribbing about the ranking system. I am sure it is the same ranking system which hailed australia no.1 for a decade. India is number period.

  • POSTED BY on | October 10, 2010, 5:40 GMT

    Thanks Ian for your Toxic interpretation of events, only you and your brother have this gift that has nothing to do of the heart.

  • POSTED BY C.W.Beer on | October 10, 2010, 5:07 GMT

    laxman, laxman laxman laxman......... wts wrong with Cricinfo & these Columniststs...... Four artilcles on the same man straightaway........ don't they have any other thing to write........ plz cricnfo plz stop it plz........

  • POSTED BY amieka on | October 10, 2010, 4:50 GMT

    Guru Ian is right again. I was following the match and when Tendulkar departed, I said to myself 'once more, Tendulkar failed to use his class to secure a victory for India'. Lax is one of the rare breeds who stands up when needed most.

  • POSTED BY on | October 10, 2010, 4:27 GMT

    After one of the best test innings ever played by an Indian , I was surprised that he wasn't the man of the match. Interestingly, nobody has really talked about Zaheer's bowling after the match.

    It has been Laxman all the way !

  • POSTED BY Tendulkars_Tennis_Elbow on | October 10, 2010, 4:21 GMT

    Match-winner non pareil! what a breath-taking Test...hope the Bangalore Test lives up to this standard.

  • POSTED BY AB2207 on | October 10, 2010, 4:19 GMT

    In the same vein of praising VVS these Aussies cannot accept the fact the Indian Test team is number 1 in the world. I don't see any other country worthy contender for the number 1 spot, definitely not the Aussies who won only tainted matches against a lowly Pakistan.

  • POSTED BY on | October 10, 2010, 4:18 GMT

    Ok. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say-- We get it. VVS is very very special. And its all nice and dandy to praise him and compliment him. But all these articles are getting a bit tiresome, and one after another it is just drilling in the same point- Laxman is a great batsman-- silky technique-- hand-eye coordination-- match-winner-- wanted #3, has to contend with Dravid-- figures don't do justice etc etc. Seriously, we've had enough of this. Can we have some articles about a topic that hasn't been mauled to death yet? This is like the 7th article singing his praises in less than a week. I'm sure he deserves all these praises, but something tells me it is only because now the ATXI panel feels stupid for leaving him out and are overcompensating for that.

    The ruse is pretty transparent. And it seems like an insult to Laxman. Get over it. He's a professional.

  • POSTED BY ironmonkey on | October 10, 2010, 4:11 GMT

    This is now the 7th article on Laxman this week. Is there nothing better to talk about? Sambit Bal, Peter Roebuck, Harsha, and now Chappell. All this over and above the ridiculous epitaphs for the last test match.

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  • POSTED BY ironmonkey on | October 10, 2010, 4:11 GMT

    This is now the 7th article on Laxman this week. Is there nothing better to talk about? Sambit Bal, Peter Roebuck, Harsha, and now Chappell. All this over and above the ridiculous epitaphs for the last test match.

  • POSTED BY on | October 10, 2010, 4:18 GMT

    Ok. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say-- We get it. VVS is very very special. And its all nice and dandy to praise him and compliment him. But all these articles are getting a bit tiresome, and one after another it is just drilling in the same point- Laxman is a great batsman-- silky technique-- hand-eye coordination-- match-winner-- wanted #3, has to contend with Dravid-- figures don't do justice etc etc. Seriously, we've had enough of this. Can we have some articles about a topic that hasn't been mauled to death yet? This is like the 7th article singing his praises in less than a week. I'm sure he deserves all these praises, but something tells me it is only because now the ATXI panel feels stupid for leaving him out and are overcompensating for that.

    The ruse is pretty transparent. And it seems like an insult to Laxman. Get over it. He's a professional.

  • POSTED BY AB2207 on | October 10, 2010, 4:19 GMT

    In the same vein of praising VVS these Aussies cannot accept the fact the Indian Test team is number 1 in the world. I don't see any other country worthy contender for the number 1 spot, definitely not the Aussies who won only tainted matches against a lowly Pakistan.

  • POSTED BY Tendulkars_Tennis_Elbow on | October 10, 2010, 4:21 GMT

    Match-winner non pareil! what a breath-taking Test...hope the Bangalore Test lives up to this standard.

  • POSTED BY on | October 10, 2010, 4:27 GMT

    After one of the best test innings ever played by an Indian , I was surprised that he wasn't the man of the match. Interestingly, nobody has really talked about Zaheer's bowling after the match.

    It has been Laxman all the way !

  • POSTED BY amieka on | October 10, 2010, 4:50 GMT

    Guru Ian is right again. I was following the match and when Tendulkar departed, I said to myself 'once more, Tendulkar failed to use his class to secure a victory for India'. Lax is one of the rare breeds who stands up when needed most.

  • POSTED BY C.W.Beer on | October 10, 2010, 5:07 GMT

    laxman, laxman laxman laxman......... wts wrong with Cricinfo & these Columniststs...... Four artilcles on the same man straightaway........ don't they have any other thing to write........ plz cricnfo plz stop it plz........

  • POSTED BY on | October 10, 2010, 5:40 GMT

    Thanks Ian for your Toxic interpretation of events, only you and your brother have this gift that has nothing to do of the heart.

  • POSTED BY CJworld on | October 10, 2010, 5:45 GMT

    Its an Excellent article with veiled attempts to point out the illusional australian supremacy. Mr chappel please do come to terms with the fact that india is number 1 and stop cribbing about the ranking system. I am sure it is the same ranking system which hailed australia no.1 for a decade. India is number period.

  • POSTED BY on | October 10, 2010, 6:07 GMT

    "After the victory India remained No. 1 and Australia at 4, as recorded by the computer".. Why question the ranking system only now Ian? Wasn't Aus enjoying the same ranking system for almost a decade?! Yet another article, so distinctly showing your Aussie partisanship!!