December 31, 1965, Madras (now Chennai)
Right hand bat
Perhaps the prime example in Indian cricket of talent going astray, Laxman Sivaramakrishnan's career seemed set to reach dizzy heights but within a couple of years, he was all washed up. A superb spell of 7 for 28 on his Ranji Trophy debut against Delhi in 1981-82 brought the slim, wiry legspinner into national prominence. Not yet 17, he was a member of the Indian team that went to Pakistan in 1982-83. At 17 years, 118 days he became the youngest Indian Test player against West Indies in Antigua later that season. He was not yet 19 when he won a Test match for India with 12 for 181 runs against England at Bombay in 1984-85 - by the end of the series he had 23 wickets and was adjudged man of the series. The icing on the cake came when he was in the Indian one-day squad that won the World Championship of Cricket in Australia in 1985 - he played a leading part in that triumph.
But thereafter it was downhill. He played one Test in Sri Lanka in 1985 and did little of note. He was an even bigger disappointment in Australia a few months later. The magic was gone and the little bowler, who seemed set to break all kinds of records, was but a shadow of what he had been 12 months before. He made a brief comeback as a member of the 1987 World Cup squad but he was not a success. In desperation, he tried to make it back as an allrounder - his
batting by the late eighties had improved enough to make him a key
member of the Tamil Nadu team that won the Ranji Trophy in 1987-88
after 33 years. But soon he lost his place in the State side and despite reports in the 90s that the `boy wizard' was still on the comeback trail, it turned out to be a road that led to nowhere but obscurity - in direct contrast to the sudden fame that Siva enjoyed for a short while.
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