Vangipurappu Venkata Sai Laxman
November 01, 1974, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
Very Very Special
Right hand bat
Right arm offbreak
Top order batter
Little Flower High School, St. John's School
At his sublime best, VVS Laxman is a sight for the gods. Wristy, willowy and sinuous, he can match - sometimes even better - Tendulkar for strokeplay. His on-side game is comparable to his idol Azharuddin's, yet he is decidedly more assured on the off side and has the rare gift of being able to hit the same ball to either side. The Australians, who have suffered more than most, paid the highest compliment after India's 2003-04 tour Down Under by admitting they did not know where to bowl to him. Laxman, a one-time medical student, finally showed signs of coming to terms with his considerable gifts in March 2001, as he tormented Steve Waugh's thought-to-be-invincible Australians with a majestic 281 to stand the Kolkata Test on its head. But even though he had another wonderful series against the Australians in 2003-04 with two centuries, one of them involving a back-from-the-dead, match-winning, 300-plus partnership with Kolkata ally Rahul Dravid at Adelaide, he hasn't quite managed the consistency that could have turned him into a batting great. Between dazzling and sometimes workmanlike hundreds, he has suffered the frustration of numerous twenties and thirties and has lost his place in the one-day side. Nothing, though, has deterred him from tormenting his favourite opponents with silken strokes and piles of runs: in the course of the double-hundred at Feroz Shah Kotla in 2008, he became the second Indian batsman after Tendulkar to score more than 2000 runs against the Australians. A couple of years later, batting with a runner due to back spasms, he conjured up a magical unbeaten 73 in a thrilling run-chase in Mohali.
However, in 2011 the runs dried up in two successive overseas trips - in eight innings in England he scored 182, and then the poor run continued in his favourite country and against his favourite opponent, Australia. With India losing those matches badly, his future as an international player was suddenly under threat.
There were calls from former players and commentators questioning Laxman's selection for the two-Test home series against New Zealand in August 2012. On August 18, though, less than a week before the series was to begin in his hometown Hyderabad, Laxman announced his retirement from international cricket with immediate effect, resisting the temptation to end his career in front of his home crowd.
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