Christian Ryan
Writer based in Melbourne. Author of Golden Boy: Kim Hughes and the Bad Old Days of Australian Cricket

Goodbye, Laxman

For over a decade his best was saved for Australia, thrilling prime ministers and lesser folk - until this tour

Christian Ryan

January 31, 2012

Comments: 125 | Text size: A | A

VVS Laxman plays the flick, 4th Test, Sydney, 2nd day, January 3, 2004
The class of '04: during his Sydney 178 Hamish Blair / © Getty Images
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VVS Laxman set foot in Australia on a Wednesday. Thursday was sunny, a sun shower skimming over the Gabba's practice nets and wetting the grass, causing Sourav Ganguly to slide in his bowler's run-up and sprain an ankle. On Friday, promoted from 12th-man duties to play in a still-sore Ganguly's stead, Laxman hit Queensland for 113.

Happenstance. That 113, in November 1999, sealed Laxman's spot in India's side, and in the Tests and one-dayers that followed he nearly squandered it - 41, 0, 5, 1, 7, 167, 9, 2, 2, 7, 1 and 3, the 167 reading like a typo now, and feeling at the time like a dream, a four-hour dream in a dead last Test, green caps crowding Laxman's bat and Laxman whipping balls in a triangle between mid-on and midwicket with a wrist-flick like rustling leaves, only muscular. TV watchers thought they could hear it.

He talked his way through the press conference afterwards. He turned for the dressing room. He stopped to sign autographs. He heard, coming out of reverie, a voice. "You know, you really made my day today" - John Howard's voice, Australia's prime minister.

Watching David Gower bat for Leicestershire one day, a Somerset supporter confided to journalist Alan Gibson that he hoped Gower might make fifty. Fifty came swiftly, and the Somerset man wished for 100 - in vain, Gower picking that moment to edge to slip. "Brightness," reported Gibson, "fell from the air."

Gower's comings and goings had that effect on Australians, too, made them hope he might linger awhile and sad when he went. Not many visiting batsmen in memory have had that power. Only the brilliant but fragile have it. The high probability that they won't quite click means that on the days when everything does click, watching cricket can feel like going to the movies. Gower had this in him, so did his rag-doll fellow Englishman Derek Randall, and Sri Lanka's Aravinda de Silva, and Pakistanis Majid Khan and, fleetingly, pipsqueak Qasim Omar, along with half a handful of West Indians, Roy Fredericks and Lawrence Rowe and Richie Richardson - late-era, purple sombrero-wearing, vulnerable Richie Richardson. Maybe two or three others. And VVS.

Happenstance happened upon him again in March 2001. He was batting with the tail in Kolkata, his slot in the team still dodgy, when an out-looking lbw shout at 9 for 140 - Venkatesh Prasad, trapped by a full toss - was judged not out. Laxman was on 37. He clattered his way to 59, confidence rising, until an umpire dispatched him caught off the wrist, which was happenstance again, because Laxman wasn't yet tired out, so when Australia enforced the follow-on he was asked to keep his pads on and march back out at number three, which he did. The rest is written on plinths, 281 for Laxman, 376 match-turning runs with Rahul Dravid, their partnership finding a dazzling 303-run encore two years later. In Adelaide. So Australia's bowlers were the sufferers again. Australia's TV watchers - again - were the lucky ones.

As a baby he watched his uncle hit tennis balls against a wall in his grandmother's backyard. Later, he'd wake with the sun to see Allan Border's canary yellows play their cigarette cup one-dayers. "It gave me," he has said, "a special feeling to watch cricket in Australia." When he abandoned his medicine school entry exams it was to attend a Bangalore cricket camp leading into three Under-19 Tests against Australia. Wrist-ravaging an attack of Gillespie, Lee and Nicholson, he averaged 110. For years his average was 10 bigger against Australia than against everyone else's bowlers. The differential is down to 3.7 now. The special feeling stretches on. It is mutual. Australians are proud of it. Laxman doesn't deny it. Asked to explain it, he always offers the same one word. "Coincidence."

 
 
He talked his way through the press conference afterwards. He turned for the dressing room. He stopped to sign autographs. He heard, coming out of reverie, a voice. "You know, you really made my day today" - John Howard's voice, Australia's prime minister
 

A square cut during a 178 in Sydney split a gap between fielders Hayden and Langer, stationed within hand-holding distance of each other yet denied a quarter-second to move. Afterwards Laxman could not, or could barely, remember the shot. This innings coaxed out of Sachin Tendulkar, who'd made 241 himself, a compliment of such sumptuousness it makes most other cricketing compliments look backhanded: "I just decided I was going to stay there and watch… from the non-striker's end."

Another Sydney special, a 109, was jump-started with ten fours in Laxman's first 43 balls. After a 200 not out in Delhi, Stuart Clark complained he'd expected Laxman to thread off-side deliveries through midwicket, this was what he'd planned for, but Laxman kept doing it anyway. This echoed a better seam bowler than Clark's lament of Kolkata 2001 - "It didn't matter where you bowled," said Glenn McGrath, "or what you bowled" - a common puzzle of bowlers bowling to Laxman, a feeling of powerlessness, there being little or no correlation between a ball's merits and the ball's eventual destination. Wristwork is key to understanding. I'm "more hands", is Laxman's theory - and all heart, it feels like. Fours flow with no "look at me" note affixed to them. His tennis ball-hitting uncle, Baba Krishnamohan, admires Laxman's on-drive, off-drive, straight drive, cover drive, back-foot cover punch, pull shot and flick off the toes. Most top batsmen, Krishnamohan believes, have five good shots and his nephew has seven - had seven, rather.

A languid melancholy has clung to Laxman's movements this summer just gone, right up to the fourth evening in Adelaide. With 40 minutes to go his bat entered shutdown-till-stumps mode but his mind could not concentrate. Tapping fixatedly at the crease-line, he peeped up in time to see bowler Hilfenhaus about to let fly. Later that over, as he loped a single, square leg's direct hit nearly beat him - plonking, not grounding, his bat in. Next, a jab outside off; an edge. Straight at second slip's face. Down plopped the ball. Midwicket was moved in. Did Laxman not see? Three metres from the bat. And Laxman slapped straight to him.

The first innings had been little better, although there was one blast of the familiar when Laxman was on 11. Siddle pitched up, off stump or thereabouts, and with a snap of the wrists the ball was sent screeching to mid-on. No run, but magnificent, and it made you look twice. The second time you looked, you noticed that Virat Kohli had hit it, not Laxman. Laxman was at the non-striker's end. The last plane out of Australia must leave soon.

Christian Ryan is a writer based in Melbourne. He is the author of Golden Boy: Kim Hughes and the Bad Old Days of Australian Cricket and, most recently Australia: Story of a Cricket Country

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Posted by   on (February 2, 2012, 15:08 GMT)

when in full flow, he is (or was?) ann artist. The bowlers providing the paint, the bat the brush and the field the canvass. Maybe the figures dont tell a story but watching him play in prime was watching a master at work. Thank you VVS.

Posted by insightfulcricketer on (February 2, 2012, 3:12 GMT)

Uncle Time does not wait for anybody. No matter how much I love(d) Laxman and his fabulous silken strokeplay or his gutsy batting but there comes the cruel moment when you have to leave the stage. For a player for whom timing was everything he missed it when to call time on his career. No matter Laxman you have given enough memories that fans will love you forever. Who could play Warne on a turning track ..dance down and play a cover drive all along the ground with confidence? ZERO except Laxman . It is a tragedy of sorts to see him flounder against journeymen like Siddle and Hlifenhaus when he had bearded McGrath,Gillespie and Warne at their pomp.

Posted by kristee on (February 2, 2012, 1:57 GMT)

Good player. But for Dharmasena's indifferent umpiring and his country's outdated DRS policy he'd however have ended up with an average of 16 or so. He actually looked everybody's bunny during almost each spell, unlike Ponting 4 years ago did against Sharma in a certain spell, an incident so keenly hyped around. (BTW the same bowler would have ended up with over 100 average, but for the incompetence of the same umpire.) S Waugh's thoughtless follow on decision at Calcutta had helped him in a big way. All the same, remarkable career.

Posted by   on (February 1, 2012, 23:30 GMT)

Please don't put Azar with the other Indian stalwart batsmen. One more than one occasion, he almost knocked over the square leg umpire trying to evade thunderbolts hurled by WI fastmen. If you doubt this, ask the old timers. They will confirm assuming of course they're truthful.

Posted by cricketlover1220 on (February 1, 2012, 23:20 GMT)

this is very sad seeing a class player like LAXMAN going like that in fact this is dilemma in indo/Pakistan cricket that whenever a quality player don't produce fruitful results for country he got axed so bad and his decades of performance was forgotten in a blink of a eye....there is no denial he failed very bad but in cricket you cant blame a single player for not producing results, sachin,sehwag,gambhir,dravid and dhoni, all got failures in test but why laxman get the most blame.i am pakistani but i really want to see laxman playing and serving his country for at-least 2 more years...he still is a class player and still can turn games for india on his shoulders...it was just one bad series and end of story..and for GOD sake india and pakistan dont do these stupid things to your players that if they dont perform you hate them and axe them so bad that you forgot their years of brialiance...at the end of the day it 'game of cricket' and there is always one winner..move on end of story.

Posted by   on (February 1, 2012, 23:03 GMT)

@Luke Ashwood.. have you watched Sachin bat in the first and second tests ? He was better than all 22 on offer.. IT doesnt matter if he scores 100.. no-one plays shots like him world cricket.. let alone indian team..

Posted by ProdigyA on (February 1, 2012, 19:47 GMT)

Thanks VVS for everything but its time to go. Sad but true. More than anything the reason i would drop Lax because of his fitness. He does not bring anything more to the team apart from his batting. Lazy runner, aweful fielder and an average slip catcher. A strong example must be set in the dressing room that any player with ordinary fitness although talented has no place in the team. Again thanks Lax for the memories but no more romantics pls.

Posted by SnehilRVP17994 on (February 1, 2012, 17:27 GMT)

A forgettable ending to an unforgettable career. After playing so many match winning innings for India, this isn't the farewell he deserves, but that is the way things go in Indian Cricket. Lets just pray to God that this kind of thing doesn't happens to Sachin.

Posted by   on (February 1, 2012, 17:07 GMT)

IF I WANTED TO BE A TEST BATSMAN IN MY DREAMS IT WOULD BE TO BAT LIKE LAXMAN.

Posted by   on (February 1, 2012, 16:59 GMT)

Know I am being emotional...I love Dravid, I absolutely worship Sachin but yet VVS has a specail place...He was DIFFERENT...He was DIFFICULT to bowl to...and He was DANGEROUS....He won a Test match against Australia 2 years back from nowhere....Understand that in the army "Colonels" lead fightbacks...Dilip Vengsarkar was the last Colonel...VVS is the Colonel of our generation!!!

Posted by   on (February 1, 2012, 16:35 GMT)

very well written! I liked the prose a lot!

Posted by   on (February 1, 2012, 16:34 GMT)

THE GUY IS DEADLY NO WAY SACHIN CAN MATCH HIS CLASS IN TERMS OF STROKE PLAY. TOGETHER WITH VISHWANATH, GAVASKAR, LAXMAN, MOHINDER AMARNATH, AZAHR I THINK INDIA HAS LOST ITS WAY IN PRODUCING THESE SORT OF BATSMEN. THESE GUYS WERE TRULY ENTERTAINING TO WATCH AND A PLEASURE I MAY ADD KAPIL DEV AND VENGSARKAR TO THE LIST. I WILL STOP WATCHING INDIAN CRICKET ONCE THE LIKES OF LAXMAN AND DRAVID ARE GONE.

Posted by dosapati_anand on (February 1, 2012, 16:20 GMT)

@Abhimanyu- Fool, what about Tendulkar? He should be dropped before anyone else.

Posted by   on (February 1, 2012, 12:48 GMT)

He's not much chop anymore. He is now the weakest link. Goodbye! Next to go should be Tendulkar. Over rated and over his best. If he doesn't retire soon, he'll be remembered for a selfish player preventing younger players the chance to shine. Hope he doesn't become a commentator...his oral communication is poor.

Posted by   on (February 1, 2012, 12:17 GMT)

So long and farewell Great son of India. You did you bit for your Mother land as far as cricket is concern. Thank you, and may I say the memories will live on for a very long time to come.

Posted by stormy16 on (February 1, 2012, 11:54 GMT)

Notable absentee was the mention of Mark Waugh who had a Lax/Gower like feel to his batting. When these guys were on song - it was poetry in motion and the quality of the bowling didnt seem to matter. What was different about Lax was his calm under pressure, second innings specials. India will miss that more than anything else I reckon. How many games has he saved or won under pressue for India. The fact is he still not gone and will India drop him? Surely not!

Posted by baba6660 on (February 1, 2012, 10:17 GMT)

Very well written piece Dear Christian. Lovely Sugar Coated Bitter Pill! I am Baba Krishna Mohan, V V S Laxman's uncle you referred to in the article. While communicating a clear message your essay is so well written that it is refreshingly different from the disrespectful bashing Laxman and the other Indian cricketing greats are currently being dished out from Indian Media and some of the ex-cricketers. I fully agree and am really wondering as to what happened to Laxman's wrist work and the elegant hitting on the up Laxman always indulged and relished while playing in Australia.

Posted by Gilliana on (February 1, 2012, 9:51 GMT)

To me, Azahruddin and Laxman will always be the greatest batsman that India had ever produced. Their batting had class and style. It wss not the runs that mattered but the way they batted. Both are pure class. Azahruddin's century at Adeliade which I witnessed was surely the greatest exhibition a classical strokeplay ever seen in this country. VVS's Sydney effort was a close second

Posted by G-Wyll on (February 1, 2012, 9:48 GMT)

Coming from a Kiwi, VVS Laxman has been a joy to watch over the years. Truly a batsman of elegance, class and ability to bat time. A shame i feel, that maybe he won't quite get to 10,000 test runs after this shambles of a test series by India brings out the axe.

However, i haven't yet seen, with the exception of Kohli, any suitable replacements for India's misfiring middle order. Discarding him could be a huge mistake, with India's depth looking so weak and underdeveloped.

Posted by Surya_RX100 on (February 1, 2012, 7:49 GMT)

f(Gundappa Vishwanath, David Gower, Mohd Azharuddin, VVS Laxman) = Elegance + pleasing to the eye

Posted by Mark00 on (February 1, 2012, 5:07 GMT)

Easily the most naturally gifted Indian batsman I have seen. His ability to play the quick bowlers, or even Warne, so late is an indication of what a good eye he has. His hands act as if they have a mind of their own ... constantly, instinctively making minute adjustments even as he flows through with the shot. Exquisite. Like some of the other batsmen mentioned in the article, he never fulfilled his potential and it's for much the same reason. Lack of self-knowledge. Unless you're willing to accept your weaknesses, rather than pretend they don't exist, you will never be truly whole and will therefore will always struggle to succeed. Sachin doesn't have the same range of strokes on both sides of the wickets but he is, absolutely, the master of his own mind. As a result, he has achieved more.

Posted by Emancipator007 on (February 1, 2012, 4:49 GMT)

Have said a lot about Laxman. Am just happy that the fast-being forgotten Aravinda de Silva has been mentioned. Classy, authoritative, regal stroke play from this bat from the little island. and did fantastically well against OZ in ODIs (with crafty off spin too) right thru his career with the high of the 100 in the '96 World Cup Final. Too bad, SL barely got Tests in OZ during his era to further parade his awesome talents. The other one mentioned is the maroon-capped Caribbean wizard Richardson with his dazzling back-foot cuts and punches.

Posted by codegreen on (February 1, 2012, 3:09 GMT)

Indian batting Tendulkar>laxman>harbhajan>dravid

Posted by ranjit.sg on (February 1, 2012, 2:42 GMT)

@ LillianThomson- I wouldn't agree with you on that. For a team to win tests consistently, it not only needs solid batsmen, but more importantly, needs a set of bowlers who can take 20 wickets on all surfaces. Younis and Akram were the best fast bowlers of their time( and arguably of all time), but didn't have the victories to show for their individual brilliance because of the weakness in Pakistan's batting. The same could be said for legends like Lara, Laxman, Sachin. Viv Richards was a great player no doubt (IMO the best their ever was), but you should remember he was backed by some of the best bowlers as well. So was Ponting (which is why his poor record in the sub-continent is hardly a talking point)

Posted by pakau on (February 1, 2012, 1:39 GMT)

THIS GUY IS SIMPLY MAGIC. WE ALL WILL REALISE THIS ONCE HE RETIRES. HE IS A BETTER MATCH WINNER THAN TENDULKAR WILL EVER BE. HE IS THE MAN ALONG WITH DRAVIDWHO TOOK ON AND TAMED THE AUSTRALIANS. THE AISSIES FEAR HIM. THERE WILL NEVER BE ANOTHER BATSMAN LIKE LAXMAN, TEDULKAR, DRAVID YES BUT LAXMAN NEVER. PURE CLASS AND A TOTAL MATCH WINNER.

Posted by   on (February 1, 2012, 1:20 GMT)

Laxman hasnt retired yet and as earlier pointed out is good enough to play till 50

Posted by   on (February 1, 2012, 1:16 GMT)

Laxsman is truly a class cricketer, so as Dravid and Tendulkar. But the age factor definitely has to come. What happended in Australia was a total failure, Failure of Dhoni as a Captain, Shewag as a hard hitter, Gambhir due to faulty batting technique. No point in pointing fingers to a single player or few senior players. In a team game the captain, the coach has to mentor the palyers or lead by example. What lacks in the team is the motivation for technical play.

The bggest spoiler is BCCI, and the IPL tamasha. T-20 is a short entertaining format. Palyers make more money in this format than playing a 5 day test.Who cares about records, ultiimately it's money.But if the board decides to mint money by promoting IPL/T-20 all over the globe, then you should not blame the players alone. Everything is to be done with moderation.

The biggest screw-up is with BCCI,clean the muck there, put the cricketing professionals there then the turnaround would be easy.

Posted by   on (February 1, 2012, 0:42 GMT)

A significant fact that most fans always miss out on is that VVS not only had his best time against Oz, but also the worst.. Baring the 95 (Kolkata 1998), 167 (Sydney 1999), 281 (Kolkata 2001), 178 (Sydney 2004) n may be 2-3 other innings, he has failed miserably against Aussies in a lot of games.. just as the 2nd para in the article above that shows all of his scores in the 1999 series plus the terrible outing recently suggest, he has at times been judged well by australian bowlers @MaruthuDelft - i dont think you are qualified enough to judge the 'greatness' of all the individuals you have mentioned.. going by your logic, no sportsmen ever in the history of mankind is great since almost everybody has at times experienced failure..only proving that they belong to human race

Posted by donda on (February 1, 2012, 0:18 GMT)

Don't say good bye to Laxman as yet, i am sure he will be back to play at home in September. Writing article is easy but performing in the ground is so hard. He did the hard work and he will retire on his terms not on people writing articles.

Posted by   on (February 1, 2012, 0:11 GMT)

Laxman was once a great Test batsman provided many thrills to cricket fans worldwide. That he's passed his prime is evident to all except the blind and those in denial. For me, one of the the standards of a great batsman is how he would fear against a fearsome 4-prong attack that the WI once boasted. Of course, we would never know the outcome of such a clash and all we're able to do now is speculate. What do the rest of you think? Could Laxman score say, 400 runs in 5-match series against a vaunted WI pace attack in the Caribbean? Or would the constant pace barrage wear on his nerves and force him to succumb without big scores to the likes of Roberts, Holding, Marhall, Garner & Croft on a regular basis?

Posted by Aubm on (January 31, 2012, 22:56 GMT)

I was there the day he & Tendulkar batted almost all day in Sydney. Would have preferred an Indian collapse, but if you have to watch 2 people bat all day then I got the best two!!!

Posted by tjsimonsen on (January 31, 2012, 20:31 GMT)

Kolkata 2001 was the first time I saw Laxman bat (on TV - I live on the other side of the planet), and I couldn't believe he wasn't always a certain pick for India. That 2nd inning was unforgettable! Only Lara (and perhaps da Silva) amongst batsmen over the past 25 years have given the same impression (to me at least - and I know it was only an impression) of batting being almost too easy. I think MacGrath's comment really says it all. To think that said innings is more than 10 years ago - I suddenly feel old!

Posted by Team12 on (January 31, 2012, 19:50 GMT)

Amazing article. Really good one from Ryan. Laxman is well and truely out now. Hope he realizes the fact faster than all the rest of the world.

Laxman is a true Master a Legend when it comes to the trademark wrist flick, he should bow out with his head held high and not ridiculed by people who sometimes know very little about cricket.

Posted by baskar_guha on (January 31, 2012, 18:53 GMT)

Rare it is to find someone so gifted when batting yet so modest when you talk to him. Like the other legend of Indian cricket, GR Viswanath, VVS will forever be remembered fondly and often by their fans for his class on and off the field. But he hasn't retired yet and I do hope he gets to leave the game on a high. If anyone deserves to do so, it is him.

Posted by warnerbasher on (January 31, 2012, 18:27 GMT)

Laxman and Dravid were the best Indian batsmen to play against Australia in Australia over the last 15 years. Take away Tendulkars runs in Sydney(amassed from tired bowlers backing up from the boxing Day test) and he is average. One can't help wondering why it took Australia so long to prepare wickets that suited the locals. It seemed on previous tours from India that the wickets were designed for the visitors. Dravid a superb fighter, Laxman a matchwinner, Tendulkar overrated.

Posted by MaruthuDelft on (January 31, 2012, 18:18 GMT)

Say Laxman is a pleasing batsman but? Does Ryan say Laxman is great? He is no Great. No Indian cricketer or athlete is great. To be a great in the real sense of the word an Indian cricketer must take India to victory in a high quality competition. If India beat England this summer Tendilkar, Dravid and Laxman are great provided they contributed. If they took India to victory against Australia in Australia in 90's and noughties then they are great but it was not to be. If Gavaskar and Kapildev beat West Indies in West Indies then they are great. As it stands no Indian cricketer is great.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 18:09 GMT)

Laxman wont retire ! He will be playing in 2018

Posted by niraj13 on (January 31, 2012, 17:55 GMT)

Laxman will definitely go down as one of the finest test players India has produced. I just hope when he retires, he goes on a high. Same thing goes for Sachin and Dravid. All of these players are going to retire soon. I just hope they go on a high. They have done enough for the country to deserve a memorable fairwell.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 17:52 GMT)

What did Dhoni do? He messed up both behind and in front of the wicket. Gambhir tried to fight but his technique betrayed him. And Sehwag, less said the better! Even the person nobody wants to point fingers at, Tendulkar, failed! Dravid and, to a greater extent, Laxman are soft targets. Unfortunate that they could not lift their game, though all of us wished fervently they would. Just one time when everything went haywire for India! And our greats looked ordinary! Dravid says he is nearer the end than the beginning. So let him and Tendulkar and Lax choose how they want to end it. We owe them at least that much for the moments they have given us! Stop the carping against these guys who made India win for one whole glorious decade!

Posted by passionate_cricket_follower on (January 31, 2012, 17:47 GMT)

The worst I feel for Laxman is when I think about him not playing a WC for India, where he could have contributed in at least 2 WCs (2003 and 2007). People talk about his test career, but forget that he had a very flourishing ODI career which was aborted due to reasons best known by the people who did it! Laxman's 103* (113) at Sydney in an ODI against Aussies ranks no lesser than any of his match saving innings in Tests. There were at least 5 more match-winning ODI innings, and pity he didn't get a chance to play and win more for India.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (January 31, 2012, 17:46 GMT)

Laxman WAS a legend. He's a spent force now. He should retire NOW. We would hate to see a legend like Laxman dragged out and dumped on the road. Same thing applies to Dravid and Tendulkar. There's a reason Gavaskar and Viswanath are not playing cricket now. They were also legends too.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 17:46 GMT)

Very well written obituary.... fantastic in fact. In the cold light of reason i realize that i shldnt get into the stats of the game or the game of stats as they show half of wht shld be known and show half of wht they should. Tendulkar, Lax and Dravid are DONE as sportsmen. For those whose life is the sport (having been once long time back) i can understand the struggle......but when ur not good enuff well tht say it all. Sport today is business and lets see just because a CEO has a great record will he be retained after 2 catastrophic years at the helm where investors are running for their lives ......NEVER. Lets see it for what it is its business and old (stellar) employees or new(Inept) employees must go for the better of the whole system. Off with Dhoni top of the charts for incredibly inept technique which has just gotten worse, Lax/Tendulkar/Dravid (To preserve their Truely well deserved status), Sehwag for promising more than he can deliver most of the times and Gambhir well..

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 17:01 GMT)

What a gem of an article,the last line said it all..U missed Laxman's 87 in Mohali,the way he played in back pain,& batted with the tail,to see India through..

Posted by bingohaley on (January 31, 2012, 16:58 GMT)

Beautifully written! Thank you!

Posted by dosapati_anand on (January 31, 2012, 16:48 GMT)

Talented but only effective on certain pitches. Like scores of indian batters, his basic technique is very weak. So his game always looked like a pisa tower about to fall. Like someone pointed out here, his big innings came only at Adelaide and sydney, truly batting pitches. I have a suspicion that more than aging his game is now sorted out by bowlers.

Posted by shreemanta on (January 31, 2012, 16:47 GMT)

I have not seen Frank Woolly bat... history says he was a genius and I agree to what they say. I have seen David.I. Gower, Mohammed Azharuddin, Mark Waugh and of course VVS bat at there prime..... and if u think batting is poetry then these batsmen were poets...... In years to come we might find a Sachin Tendulkar,a Rahul Dravid...,a Brain Lara, Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting,but u won't find any Gowers, VVS, Azhar & Mark Waugh.... they were artist and ground was there canvas......each innings of them were a master piece.The best part of there batting was that they were natural big match players.......... Fantastic to watch and were worth every penny............. As far as the current status goes ... VVS should carry on for at least a year..... he should not be a scapegoat. He should be given a good farewell TEST MATCH because he has done for India in Test Matches no Tendulkar has done it........ His second innings average is more then 50 in Tests...........

Posted by mowgliworld on (January 31, 2012, 16:43 GMT)

IF you look at all Tests from 01, March 2011 to now. Indian player stats are: Rahul Dravid 51 VVS Laxman 37.86 Sachin 37.01 Sehwag 28 Kohli 25 Dhoni 25

Who do you want to say goodbye to, again?

Posted by r1m2 on (January 31, 2012, 16:40 GMT)

For me Laxman combined great batting skills with the great ability to pull out his tricks under pressure and against the best. Tendulkar for example has undoubtedly great ability, but his ability to dish it out against the best under the most trying of circumstances I think remains a suspect. Although he's definitely up to the challenge against the best, but not against the tide. Dravid too in my opinion has not done his best against the best, although he's shown an ability to come to terms under the most trying circumstances. Kallis too has not done well against the best. Ponting has done well under trying circumstances but he in his prime never had to face the best attack. Now he's older and past prime and he's getting to face better attack than he ever did in his prime, and he's not doing so well. But my point is, who among these great batsmen are able to do their usual against the best, when all chips are down. From that perspective Laxman for me stands out. Great article Mr. Ryan!

Posted by samudralakiku on (January 31, 2012, 16:22 GMT)

@ Technical-1 - People keep saying lot left in a player when he can not field well, run between the wickets and more. This is not to say that VVS is not a legend. But think of how much more can he offer to the Indian cricket, other than robbing a chance from an youngster who can offer more in the long run. I think we should change our thinking towards the players at the end of the career. I would rather see an youngster come and settle in early than wait to see VVS or Dravid or Tendulkar play another 2 years to score one more century and not do much else. It is pity that they have to leave at such a low for their wonderful careers. But that is the inevitable, which should happen sooner than later.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 16:18 GMT)

He,s a Classic Player No Doubt Abt That I Remember His 280runs Innings What a Great Shots He Played Amazing But I Thing I Always Noted He God Bold So Many Times Every Time He Got Bowled Out He Looks Surprised Or Show Us He Never Saw A Delivery Why ??? There Is Any Problem In His Eye Sight ?

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (January 31, 2012, 16:15 GMT)

@LILLIAN THOMSON . I THINK YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH INDIA THAT 'S WHY I HAVE HEARD MANY TIMES SAYING YOU THAT IN 2004 INDIA DRAWS MOSTLY BECAUSE OF FLAT WKTS & WEAK BOWLNG ATTACK . FIRST OF ALL YOUR BOWLING ATTACK HAS LEE , GILLESPIE , MACGILL , BICHEL AT THAT TIME WHICH I DON'T THINK IS WEAK , OK MACGRATH WAS MISSING , WARNE CAN BE EASILY HANDLED BY INDIANS , SECONDLY ONLY PITCHES IN ADELAIDE & SYDNEY WERE FLAT WHILE MELBOURNE & BRISBANE WERE NOT & ALSO IF YOU RECALL INDIA MADE 400 + TOTAL ON AN OVERCAST DAY IN BRISBANE TEST IN 2004 & DRAW THAT TEST . OKK NOW OUR BATTING IS NOT GOOD THAT DOESN'T MEAN YOU WILL START CALLING , LAXMAN , DRAVID , SACHIN AS FLAT TRACK BULLIES . JUST TO REMIND YOU YOUR SO CALLED GREAT PONTING 'S RECORD IN INDIA , ONLY 1 CENTURY IN 10 MATCHES IN INDIA .

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 15:38 GMT)

Laxman had a good ride...time for him to get off with his stature intact...

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 15:12 GMT)

"Abhi Laxman baqi hai," a thought circled an opponent's or supporter's mind alike. Such a presence he had that a match wasn't declared until he was on the crease. I always regarded his absence from the playing eleven as a stupid decision by the selectors, and a good fortune if India was playing Pakistan. I have always had and will have respect for Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, Surave Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, and VVS Laxman. Kudos gentlemen, it always was, is, and will be a treat to watch such a humble and noble cricketers.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (January 31, 2012, 14:54 GMT)

Sadness and Hurt. Deep and beyond words, when I realise that this poetry in motion doesn't have too many days left over. I hope he will get one more series to say goodbye to his fans at home.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 14:21 GMT)

Class act. Love to watch when he flicks the ball on off wicket to on side. Hope someone continue the legacy of wristy act. Kudos VVS Laxman.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 14:16 GMT)

It is sad to think about exit of Laxman but way in which he was batting and fielding one may not help but feeling extremly sorry for him. It is high time he say good bye to cricket so that he can retire with some honour.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 13:54 GMT)

He is a legend. one of the finest stroke makes the game has seen and his ability to rise to the occasion makes him very very special!!!

Posted by 2929paul on (January 31, 2012, 13:49 GMT)

The comparison with Gower is spot on. A flawed genius, someone you would leave the bar to watch, especially as you knew he might only last a short time. But at least whilst at the crease you knew there would be beauty to behold.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 13:45 GMT)

It always mesmerising to watch Laxman bat. This time around, I think the part of the problem has been IPL. He suddenly started to play away from his body and poke at deliveries early on outside off stump. There have been times when he have been bowled same line and length and he has let the balls fly by. Not this around. KILL IPL!!

Posted by Technical-1 on (January 31, 2012, 13:34 GMT)

Laxman still Great and Still have Lot left in him! U all said the same thing about Ponting!

Posted by unregisteredalien on (January 31, 2012, 13:32 GMT)

Just want to chime in to agree with those who name VVS as the Indian player that Australians have tended to appreciate and respect the most. He was immense against us and always seemed like a nice chap to boot. Dravid probably in second place for not dissimilar reasons!

Posted by nzcricket174 on (January 31, 2012, 13:28 GMT)

Laxman has denied so many teams of victory. I remember against the Black Caps, we had India 5-15 and later on 6-82, though Laxman held the tail and more important Harbhajan together to destroy chances of victory. And who can forget Mohali, I don't think any Indian fans need reminding of that. I guess this is the end, a real shame though. Such a special player, a beauty to watch and will be remembered after he has retired as a legend of cricket. Good on ya.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 13:19 GMT)

Laxman is the best test player won matches for India against Australia. I had seen only two players Azahar and Laxman who plays wristy shots. When they play shots it looks more beautiful and sweet sound will come from the willow. When everyone (Dhoni, Dravid, Sehwag, Gambhir, Ishant Sharma) in the team played badly why everyone concentrating Laxman. Great article Ryan. You had shown the shining side to those who are just criticizing Laxman.

Posted by RohanMarkJay on (January 31, 2012, 13:18 GMT)

Yeah, VVS Laxman is probably the last of the old fashioned technically gifted and correct batsman, with the next generation brought up on 20/20 and IPL we wonder if we will see batsmanship like this again we wonder. David Gower, Aravinda De Silva, Mark Waugh and VVS Laxman, I hope we see batsman like these in future. These guys are not just batsman they are skilled artists.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 13:15 GMT)

Problem is, if everyone is to either hang up his boots or be dropped, then the Indian test team will be left with 3 players!

Posted by Fireballz on (January 31, 2012, 12:50 GMT)

@Aditya Bhangle - the author is saying goodbye to Laxman presumably because he is leaving Australia for the last time. I would like to say (from another Australian), well played Laxman, in time this latest series will become a mere fadeout to an epic and majestic career.

Posted by rama_krish on (January 31, 2012, 12:47 GMT)

It is sad to see the great VVS, Dravid, Tendulkar and Sehwag leave the scene - we are all the poorer for it, but blessed that they graced our stage and we were privileged to watch them.

Posted by jason79 on (January 31, 2012, 12:41 GMT)

Why is no one talking about Tendulkar.He is also a big disappointment,if you loook at figures , well he may be the 2nd Highest run scorer in the Inidan Team in this series, but the total runs he has scored is nothing ..when compared to his experience and so called talents he has .A player with more than 20 years of experience couldnt even get a century .If players like Kohli or Dhnoi or ashwin gets say 80's or 90's it is something after all they are players who are relatively speaking new in this field and they are not Gods , but when players like tendulkar who is considered as God gets only 80 or 90 and cannt guide the team to a victory , then they should be kicked out .Now for tendulkar its like he is in a comfort zone, just score 30+ runs in each match and he wont have to face what dravid or laxman is facing.its time some one has guts to point out his poor form to tendulkar and also to his face that boss its time for you to retire .lets hope he undersatnd it fast.Downto tendulkar

Posted by Max_Broder on (January 31, 2012, 12:35 GMT)

In my books there were only two or three others like Laxman in cricket - M Azharuddin, GR Vishwanath, and David Gower.... and I will forever cherish his game despite his recent slump in form. Those who criticize must just read what the little master Sachin said about Laxman.... "I just decided I was going to stay there and watch… from the non-striker's end." - That sums it up aptly for me.

Posted by Dipi99 on (January 31, 2012, 12:07 GMT)

Yes Truly its Goodbye V V S Laxman Rahul Dravid & Little Master. A end of an era of indian legends who played together for over an decade and have played great innings at times to save india from losing or at times it has been the situation when we needed the most from these players they delivered.Who can forget Kolkata Test 2001 , 281 of laxman included a huge partnership with Rahul Dravid, and many more such great innings played by these legends.

Indian Selectors, BCCI & these 3 legends needs to sit and discuss and set the retirement plan as india now play against kiwis in August, followed by England in November & Aussies next year in Feb . these all series to be played in india let young lads like raina rohit sharma , pujara, tiwari, kohli have enough of test matches inside their pocket so that before they tour africa 2013 dec which will be india's next overseas tour they are ready for it...

India also need to think about bowling .Zaheer is getting older, cant depend much on him.

Posted by chitraj on (January 31, 2012, 11:47 GMT)

Very well written article. VVS is a different breed altogether and boy did this article ream in the nostalgia. But then again " goodbye laxman" seems a bit premature. The poor guy has had poor run of form- and lets leave it that. I still see him having a few more years in him and hope I dont have to eat my words, but "the best is yet to come". There is something in the attitude of the indian team that makes me feel that the batsman are suffering from a mental block and/or fatigue. They need some sort of respite.

Posted by Kavum on (January 31, 2012, 11:14 GMT)

Nice. CR treads a fine line between swooning super-fandom and mawkish sentimentality, not falling prey to either. The last two paragraphs bring us face to face with cold, harsh reality. This IS goodbye and thanks VVS for the good memories. This IPL will be a nice little "gold watch" for services rendered. Let Sharma or one of the host of other youngsters itching for a chance take your place, march out to the middle still feeling that your's are big boots to fill.

Posted by tompuffin on (January 31, 2012, 11:05 GMT)

When I started following cricket and the blackcaps, the first series I saw of NZ vs India was back in 2010. There, Laxman made 91 to defy NZ, almost single handedly, with Harbajhan. Watching him bat, even as an opposing fan, I had to admire his flawless stroke play and utter calm. NZ did not look anywhere like getting a wicket whenever he was facing. I wish I could see him bat against NZ one more time, but I agree, now is the time to bow out. Good luck!

Posted by kp289 on (January 31, 2012, 10:50 GMT)

there was a quote"when laxman retires australia would declare a national holiday".... but now only a mad manwould say it..... how time has changed.... now there is pressure on him to retire.!!!

Posted by Abhimanyu on (January 31, 2012, 10:35 GMT)

Test series is over, and now is that time to see if our selectors gave the guts to drop Dhoni, Dravid, and Laxman from test cricket or not. They can not remain short-sighted anymore after 0-8 loss oversees. They need to give give Dinesh Karthik, Parthiv Patel, and Wriddhiman Saha more opportunities to become India's next wicket-keeper. Picking a keeper/opening batsmen like Parthiv Patel or Dinesh Karthik with any of the following players (Pujara, Badrinath, Rohit, Rahane, Manoj Tiwari) can also bring Sehwag and Gambhir down in the middle order with Virat Kohli. Also Rahul Sharma needs to be given an opportunity to make an comparison between him and Ashwin to see who is a better spinner/all-rounder.

Posted by dr.jha on (January 31, 2012, 10:35 GMT)

mesmerising...i just have one word to say,but cricinfo wants 25 characters...

Posted by serious-am-i on (January 31, 2012, 10:29 GMT)

excellent article Ryan. I always loved the way VVS bat, he was class apart from one I have watched till today. He has not looked the same, since Eng series. Every thing has an expiry date and VVS's expiry date was long over against Eng unfortunately. Thanks for all the entertainment VVS.

Posted by AndyMack on (January 31, 2012, 10:29 GMT)

A pleasure to watch, a real shame this is the end of Laxman in Australia. Probably the most liked and respected of all Indian players ever amongst aussie players and fans alike (that will get the Sachin-fans going...!!!)

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 9:50 GMT)

haha this must be the greatest joke... Every1's saying goodbye to laxman, but the poor chap is saying "Picture abhi baki hai mere dost"

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 9:36 GMT)

Yeah, I am still wondering what went wrong as I am sure is Lakshman . What a player and what enjoyment he has given to cricket lovers, the world over. Sadly despite the admiration Australia and Australians have had for the great batsman, Indians have been particularly impatient with him. He has been one player who has had the selectors" sword of Damocles constantly hanging over his head and inching even closer with every failure. Yet, no one expected him to fail the way he did. Maybe he started with a hint of overconfidence. Maybe the reflexes are slowing down just a little. Maybe the bowling coach and the team did a lot of home work on his failings. Maybe he was just unlucky. Maybe his time was up. I think Indian cricket needs to be gracious to him, He was one of the true modern greats and his second innings efforts have always been better than Tendulkar"s for instance. A gentleman with brains and style. He has given enough memories to last a lifetime. Ramanujam Sridhar

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 9:36 GMT)

Yeah, I am still wondering what went wrong as I am sure is Lakshman . What a player and what enjoyment he has given to cricket lovers, the world over. Sadly despite the admiration Australia and Australians have had for the great batsman, Indians have been particularly impatient with him. He has been one player who has had the selectors" sword of Damocles constantly hanging over his head and inching even closer with every failure. Yet, no one expected him to fail the way he did. Maybe he started with a hint of overconfidence. Maybe the reflexes are slowing down just a little. Maybe the bowling coach and the team did a lot of home work on his failings. Maybe he was just unlucky. Maybe his time was up. I think Indian cricket needs to be gracious to him, He was one of the true modern greats and his second innings efforts have always been better than Tendulkar"s for instance. A gentleman with brains and style. He has given enough memories to last a lifetime. Ramanujam Sridhar

Posted by cricfanraj on (January 31, 2012, 9:34 GMT)

Laxman is a great example of gifted player. He entertained well but his expiry date as batsmen arrived. Need to hang this shoes with grace and will be always remembered as a man for crisis.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 9:27 GMT)

Great tribute to VVS...! Go VVS!

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 9:22 GMT)

Not yet good bye... he will come back stronger

Posted by breathecricket on (January 31, 2012, 9:10 GMT)

Nice article. Sad end to Laxman's career. But hope it ends. Let him not be given another chance. Is is more important than was. How nice it would be if these greats hang the boot at the right time!!!

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 8:51 GMT)

OK but ageing is the problem with team India

Posted by mahesh9999 on (January 31, 2012, 8:51 GMT)

Laxman the true hero but currently out of form.......i still believe that he can play good cricket for atleast 2 more years

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 8:38 GMT)

Alas.. !! a fairy tale career is in its late twilight... !! My compliments to the writer for detailing it so beautifully... !! No matter what people say, I believe that India's golden quarteret is the greatest of all time, not because others were inept but just for the fact that it took almost a decade for fast bowlers world over to figure them out. Spin was never in contention. it was so colossal that these batsmen would have to be bored to get out. Only a rare piece of artistry would have egged them to make mistakes and loose their wicket but otherwise, as McGrath said, it just didn't matter where u bowled to them... ! It was a time, it was their time and they were gods in what they did. But they still are mortals and a future awaits all of us when they would no longer wield their magic. Before more humiliation comes in, its time we make decisions and grant them a fairy-tale farewell and sketch them in our minds permanently as incarnations who descended down just to bat... !!

Posted by ramli on (January 31, 2012, 8:27 GMT)

All good things must come to an end ... Laxman's has come to an end ... hopefully he knows that and quits without more humiliation ...

Posted by SportySpice on (January 31, 2012, 8:14 GMT)

Good Article... all good things come to an end. And at times as cruelly as this. But the best of Laxman will always remain in memory. 4 boundaries in an over to mitchell johnson all through mid wicket no matter where he bowled.. at sydney and i remember on ball could have been cover driven just as well.. The next one coming will have huge boots to fill in. Rohit sharma has the same lazy elegance about him if not the calibre of wrist work. Hope he lives up to the promise,

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 8:11 GMT)

Laxman had his days of glory.. but they are now past him..... it is not an age factor, but age does play its part. What is required is going back to the drawing board, play more domestic cricket and redeem yourself

A player with such caliber should not just go like that.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 8:02 GMT)

What a lovely article, Christian. Glorious writing to match Laxman's glorious strokeplay. Thank you.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 7:59 GMT)

he had the sisatorous Tour in australia but let dont forget in last decade of Australian Dominance He was the one who puntured thier invincibilty,2001,2004,2007 some of the test match were matched up between laxman and australia

Posted by 4test90 on (January 31, 2012, 7:44 GMT)

Very sad for Laxman - I have always liked and admired him - I keenly looked forward to him coming here again this summer. As time went on, I was reminded of Jeff Thomson touring England in 1985 when he was obviously past his fastest and best. Seeing him go for over 100 runs in 19 overs at Edgbaston was sad indeed. Particularly when 10 years earlier the same nation had no answer to him, much as Australia did with Laxman in 2001. He even had to see Clarke beat his 281 as the highest Aust/India score this summer.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 7:28 GMT)

As always, a fantastic piece, Christian. There's one shot from the 2001 Eden Garden innings that made me gasp - and has been engraved in my mind ever since. He was in the late 40s, facing up to Kasprovicz when the latter bowled a half volley just outside off. Most batsmen would have driven it through the covers. Laxman whipped it through mid on for four. Gorgeous. It's for moments like that this game will always have a hold on me.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 7:26 GMT)

he's a great player, played some of the finest innings i've seen in test cricket. Will miss him when he does retire.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 7:15 GMT)

An inspired peace of writing - one of the very best on someone who could stir people's imagination.

Posted by cricconnossieur on (January 31, 2012, 7:13 GMT)

Mr Ryan you made my eyes go moist with this write up. Laxman has been that kind of player that one gets emotionally attached to. He is more human than the Dravid's and Tendulkars in an inscrutable kind of way. A writer has eloquently put it on the cricinfo website recently that the sight of Laxman being dismissed and his reaction thereof is one of the most saddest sights in cricket. Will there be another like him ?1 Very soon ?

Posted by LillianThomson on (January 31, 2012, 7:07 GMT)

Laxman' entire career is actually encapsulated in that first tour of Australia, when his scores were 41, 0, 5, 1, 7 and 167. Forget his two middle tours of Australia, against weakened bowling attacks on flat wickets. Laxman's first tour of Australia was a 3-0 defeat immediately after Pakistan suffered a 3-0 defeat. But whereas Pakistan fought and fought and fought, and but for Gilly would have been 1-1 after 2 tests, India's artists just capitulated, just as they have done all over again against a team whose previous 2 series included being dismissed for 46 and drawing at home against New Zealand. I will miss the artistry of Laxman, Dravid and Tendulkar and the grace and dignity of the first two in particular. But all three languish in the "flawed artists" category with David Gower and Brian Lara, because unlike Viv Richards or even Imran Khan they could not carry a team from the jaws of Test defeat to victory or even a draw.

Posted by ImpartialObserver on (January 31, 2012, 7:04 GMT)

Wonderful article Christian! It always feels great when a person from another country praises your cricketer. That is the real stamp of appreciation. Felt great, reading your article about Lax. It might be true that India mighty middle order (they were mighty, as shown multiple times abroad also) have failed miserably this time, but there is no taking away their greatness. Only their speed of movement and powers of concentration have been taken away. And I think it will be very tough for India to find such a middle order. Imagine having 2-3 Gavaskers in the middle order, if that is possible. That "was" the current Indian middle order. But times do change and youngsters must come. But I don't see the next gen being as good as this set of players, especially, Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman, Kumble and Ganguly.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 7:04 GMT)

Always thought he was overated. Never scored runs against England especially in England. Like many Indian flat track bullies couldnt handle the moving ball. He never moved his feet so not hard to understand y.. Adelaide and Sydney are roads- not that much different to Indian wickets just a bit more bounce. How many Indians scored 100s at Perth or Brisbane? I can just think of Gangulys inning in Brisbane and Tendulkar's at Perth a long time ago...

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 7:03 GMT)

Yes VVS should retire and all. Yes he may be past his sell by date but it doesn't give any Tom, Dick or Ryan to ask him to leave. The best person to decide this is VVS himself. Like any other player, he has a right to choose when to leave. Or the onus can be on selectors, that they don't choose him. Before anyone jumps on me. I am a Pakistani.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 6:54 GMT)

laksman is undoubtedly one of the greatest batsman india produced, its time to honur him and say cherios

Posted by Meety on (January 31, 2012, 6:43 GMT)

Loved the context of the article, that 167 at Sydney was on a par with Lara's 277 IMO. I found I had to read some sentences as it didn't seem to flow right, (maybe just me). Laxman WAS the batsmen I feared most on this tour, now the series is over young Ozzy fans would probably wonder what the anxiety was about. That 167 in a totally lost cause was great viewing for most people except McGrath (I vaguely recall him going nuts in frustration as nothing he could do could stop the flow of runs & VVS was really just holding up a masacre). Normally I'd be glad to be done with a one-sided contest, but VVS's knock was essential viewing. Sad end. He may get a send off test in India, & he'll probably do OK, but he should retire after that at the latest!

Posted by bipulkumar on (January 31, 2012, 6:36 GMT)

Everyone expecting Laxman and other oldies to hang up their boots ... but you never know what surprise our selectors will spring up.

Posted by Longmemory on (January 31, 2012, 6:26 GMT)

Thanks for that, CR. Lovely piece. VVS has always had that feeling of fragility - even when fully on song. A classical batsman - all timing, wrists, and elegance. It was obvious over summer in England that he was done. He was a fraction late on just about everything - and you had the distinct feeling he would be caught out in Australia. And so it has come to be. Now that we have the benefit of hindsight, I can't help but think: what if Sachin had retired after the World Cup final in Mumbai; Dravid after that series and that century at the Oval in England; and VVS after his run of good scores against the Windies at home? What a set of fabulous endings those would have been for all 3 of them. It would virtually have ensured their canonization - at least in India.

Posted by srini701 on (January 31, 2012, 6:20 GMT)

*Sigh*....thanks for a nice article and for some wonderful words reminiscing us of Laxman in his prime. Those last two paragraphs captured the Laxman of today as vividly as the earlier paragraphs did him at his best.... The last plane must leave soon...I just wish Laxman realises he HAS to be on it and not on the field anymore :(

Posted by anukrtiti on (January 31, 2012, 6:18 GMT)

there was only one interesting thing in the india's tour of australia 2012 test series,and it was that the person-laxman who was best in australia had failed, he who was chosen in team india because of his wondeful performances in australia failed this time................i am having problem to imagine how can this happen in just 2 or less years after playing so, well through out his career in australia.........

Posted by Gerry_the_Merry on (January 31, 2012, 6:16 GMT)

Very nice. Laxman rose to challenges like no one else. An extraordinary batsmen. He made a dazzling 89 in 121 balls in Port Elizabeth, mostly with the tail in 2003.

Posted by amre on (January 31, 2012, 6:04 GMT)

VVS Laxman..what can I say..am not sad that we need to pay tribute to him now. For more than 15 years we have watched him..his ups and downs..his being in and out of the team..the most under-rated of cricketing geniuses..to watch you get out before stumps at Adelaide, to the traditional flick of the wrist was painful...so also the flick shot that got you out in the second test (if I recall)..you have served the country and cricket very well..we are proud of you..and so should you be..wish you the best in your future ventures.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 6:03 GMT)

yeah..... good bye laxman .... proud that u played for India... such a talented roll of d wrists dat no one could match ... but wait a minute , din't d last line pointed out dat d author could not differentiate a shot form kohli against laxman???? oh man .... welcome kohli ... hope u become d captain of India in d next 2 years... :P

Posted by kiranteja on (January 31, 2012, 5:54 GMT)

Touching article....really. I still think he's got a shot at doing all dat stuff again... may be in a Ranji Match... but still... people will want to watch. A fallen soldier is worth his weight in Gold....

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 5:47 GMT)

VVS is a true Legend of the game...His contribution to Indian Cricket has been outstanding...No other batsman could handle pressure situations better than Laxman... The team management should not force him to retire...It should be left to him... if at all somebody has to be dropped, it shud be Dravid... Rohit sharma should replace Dravid...Dravid's reflexes have become pathetic and it is evident from the way he got bowled 6 times in 8 innings... And as Kerry O'keefe rightly said, "The stumps have asked for pads" !!!

Posted by IndCrickFan on (January 31, 2012, 5:36 GMT)

He really has been a nemesis for Australia and has always been respected by Australians...You find very few with the class that he poses...Its unfortunate that the end was sour...but at the same time we should not forget the contributions made by him and Dravid....I know they are under the pump and they themselves are responsible for it...but who in world cricket doesnt go through these bad times....even the game dominators have been put to sword at times.....so I request all the fans worldwide not to blindly judge them just by 1 series.....Unfortunately all batsman played poor cricket......Nobody noticed that even Australian batsman except ponting and Clark are shadowed by others performance....I m sure they will be exposed against a good bowling line up like SA or Pak...Everybody is a champion at home...example - England are rattled in subcontinent against pak.....

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (January 31, 2012, 5:24 GMT)

HE HAS GOT THE MAXIMUM RESERVE PRICE IN IPL , MAYBE NOW HE SHOULD RETIRE HONESTLY .

Posted by evenflow_1990 on (January 31, 2012, 5:21 GMT)

magnificent article. laxman was one of the most naturally gifted batsmen ever, although his statistics do not reflect this. excuse my sri lankan bias, but i was pleased to see the aravinda de silva reference.

Posted by sweetspot on (January 31, 2012, 5:17 GMT)

Way too emotional this piece makes me. Thanks, Mate! Every poem must end.

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (January 31, 2012, 5:06 GMT)

JUST WAIT FOR PAKISTAN OR SOUTH AFRICA TO ARRIVE , SOON YOU WILL BE WRITING AN ARTICLE OVER PONTING TO TAKT HIS RETIREMENT .

Posted by chicagochinnodu on (January 31, 2012, 5:02 GMT)

Thanks laxman for all of ur very very special innings in australia and great memories associated with them.....one of ur biggest fans...

Posted by Jaundiced_Observer on (January 31, 2012, 4:56 GMT)

Thank you Christian, for this lovely tribute to a lovely batsman. Is it a coincidence, I wonder, that the best tributes to cricketers most often come from writers not sharing a player's nativity; and hence the warmth and sincerity of it that transcended borders really touch the heart.

Posted by DeathRaider on (January 31, 2012, 4:51 GMT)

His batting has been more beautiful than any of those dazzling damsels on the silver screen .. I still secretly wish he hasn't reached his expiry date yet ..What a player!

Posted by sivadubai on (January 31, 2012, 4:46 GMT)

VVS Laxman is a far better cricketer and a fighter and way ahead of Dravid or Sachin and even for that matter Sourav. He has fought matches single handedly on many occasions and have made tailenders play their game with him. It is sad that he had to bear the brunt at this point of career but, if you ask me, I would put the blame on Laxman only as the last choice. Sachin, Dravid, Gambhir should face the fire from the front line and Laxman can be pardoned to quit on his own terms. But Sachin, Dravid and Gambhir should be shown the door right now.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 4:38 GMT)

Legendary...! I'm gonna miss him and his shots..

Posted by mowgliworld on (January 31, 2012, 4:38 GMT)

Watch Eden 2001. or Adelaide 2008. or Durban, 2010. Then talk about Kohli vs Laxman.

Posted by TamilIndian on (January 31, 2012, 4:25 GMT)

yes thanks for the wonderful...

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Christian RyanClose
Christian Ryan Christian Ryan lives in Melbourne, writes and edits, was once the editor of The Monthly magazine and Wisden Australia, and now bowls low-grade, high-bouncing legbreaks with renewed zeal in recognition of Stuart MacGill's retirement and the selection opportunities this presents. He is the author of Golden Boy: Kim Hughes and the Bad Old Days of Australian Cricket and Australia: Story of a Cricket Country

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Martin Crowe: It's hard to understand how India's best spinner is being left out in favour of bits-and-pieces players

    Gower savours life in the last chance saloon

Rewind: David Gower was on the verge of being dropped for good in 1990 when he made a charismatic century against India

Coming back to win from hopeless first-innings situations

Anantha Narayanan: A look at some of the most thrilling victorious fightbacks in Tests

News | Features Last 7 days

India look for their Indian summer

Billboards are calling the series England's Indian Summer, but it is India who are looking for that period of warmth, redemption after the last whitewash, for they have seen how bleak the winter that can follow is

South Africa face the Kallis question

Accommodation for a great player like Jacques Kallis should be made with careful consideration and South Africa cannot get carried away with sentiment

India's bowling leader conundrum

The present Indian bowling line-up will tackle its first five-Test series without the proven guidance of Zaheer Khan, their bowling captain. India had unravelled without him in 2011. Will they do better this time around?

Five key head-to-heads

From two embattled captains to the challenge for India's openers against the new ball, ESPNcricinfo picks five contests that could determine the series

Packed tours, and Shiv's late stumping

Also, best post-war win/loss record, most runs in two calendar years, most ducks in a Test, and brothers with similar numbers

News | Features Last 7 days

    India look for their Indian summer (87)

    Billboards are calling the series England's Indian Summer, but it is India who are looking for that period of warmth, redemption after the last whitewash, for they have seen how bleak the winter that can follow is

    South Africa face the Kallis question (56)

    Accommodation for a great player like Jacques Kallis should be made with careful consideration and South Africa cannot get carried away with sentiment

    Why isn't Ashwin playing? (52)

    It's close to inexplicable how India's best spinner is being left out in favour of bits-and-pieces players

    India's bowling leader conundrum (44)

    The present Indian bowling line-up will tackle its first five-Test series without the proven guidance of Zaheer Khan, their bowling captain. India had unravelled without him in 2011. Will they do better this time around?

    Five key head-to-heads (33)

    From two embattled captains to the challenge for India's openers against the new ball, ESPNcricinfo picks five contests that could determine the series