Write an Article Live Scores App

VVS Laxman - A garland of memories that shall not wither

f

VVS Laxman

VVS Laxman

He was the epitome of understated elegance. Now just writing that in past tense sends me on a reflective spin, filled with the pleasant memories of a colossal cricketer. It has been more than a year since the great batsman packed his kit and drove home into the warm embrace of his loving family. But such was his elegant brilliance, that the magic of its beauty simply refuses to fade away from the many souls he touched just with an elegant flick of his wrists. Possessed with a golden heart, he is one of those rare cricket stars who remained simple and grounded despite the trappings of stardom and adulation.

Even as Vangipurapu Venkata Sai Laxman turns 39 today, he shall forever remain the 26-year-old young man that ground the Aussies into unlikely submission in the summer of 2001. But then, it is even more important to remember Laxman for his unselfish adventures in the middle, especially amidst the deeply individualistic culture that prevailed in the teams of his time.

One will remember Laxman for his humane ways both on and off the field. He never needed a public relations trainer to teach him the importance of being a team player. The man was just the quintessential soldier whose veins bled for his team, without so much as asking. The humble Hyderabadi must be lauded for placing the needs of the team consistently above his, through a mostly illustrious career.

Laxman is a man of faith and conviction and his naturally beautiful character shone through in his cricketing expression. It was obvious from the moment he walked into the arc lights as a 22-year-old young man that Laxman was a quiet, reserved lad. The bat did his bidding and more often than not, his elegant blade sang rhapsodies to extract his team from an envelope of darkness into the warmth and glow of victory.

It was like that from the very beginning. In his debut against the visiting South Africans at Ahmedabad in 1996 Laxman failed to impress in his first innings. It didn’t take long for the lanky young man to make a mark though. Walking out at 82-4 in the second, Laxman crafted an edifice with resolve and restraint to score a beautiful 51 in an innings of 190 to pave the path for a 64-run victory. Not surprisingly, Laxman made it a habit to produce a stunning collection of second innings classics that guarantee his place among the pantheon of great players.

Any discussion about Laxman would be incomplete without speaking about that monumental 281 against the befuddled Aussies, who suffered a waking nightmare after forcing India to follow on at the Eden Gardens in March 2001. Still only 26, Laxman batted a shade more than ten and a half hours to grate the Aussies into a state of desperate helplessness. It is considered by many as the greatest innings played by an Indian player.

While that might indeed be as close to a sporting fact as can be, Laxman’s collection of jewels was not restricted to that once-in-a-lifetime effort. You might remember with equal fondness, if not more, that the wonderful cricketer once again stood between the Aussies and a seemingly certain victory during the autumn of his career.

It was three years ago, in the month of October, just before he turned 36. The Indian team needed 216 in the fourth innings to earn a victory over the Aussies at Mohali. Laxman was battling severe spasms in the back and was forced to sit out in the pavilion as he watched a dismal performance from the team unfold. Coming in as the number 10, Laxman looked up to survey the ruins. The scorecard presented a picture of misery and pain.

The situation, at 124-8, was akin to that of Julius Caeser’s men in the battle of Pharsalus against the formidable arsenal at the disposal of Pompey the Great. But the warrior in Laxman was in no mood to allow the discomfort in his back to break his spirit. In another epic performance, Laxman scored nearly every run since taking to the crease, to help the team achieve the near impossible task.

By virtue of intensity and context, Laxman’s undefeated 73 was as magnificent an effort as any in the annals of cricket. The concoction of relief and elation that decorated his smiling visage was nearly as exquisitely beautiful as an emperor’s crown jewel. So many of the great man’s efforts were special not because they were measured centuries on a calibrated cricket calliper.

Laxman’s runs came wrapped in gold, like Diwali offerings that signify the might of light in yet another moment of grave darkness. And Laxman scored them with unfailing regularity, in the moments that the team needed a saviour.

We cannot obviously grudge the wonderful man a quiet birthday in the company of his family, for he has earned his break with an effort of sustained distinction. But one does hope that a solitaire of his pedigree returns to set up camp soon and mentor prospective cricketers. In Laxman they might find someone who can help them learn not just the nuances of the game, but also the endangered art of being gentle in a sport that is rapidly turning into a brazen circus of self-promotion.


5 cricketers who showed effects of drunkenness on the cricket field After-match parties are quite common these days especially in the Indian Premier League.
Watch: Virat Kohli and Anil Kumble lead India's wishes on Garry Sobers' 80th birthday Indian captain and coach post heartfelt messages to West Indies legend
Sportskeeda Adda: Team India’s combination for the second Test Perspective galore from Sportskeeda fans for team India's combination for the second Test.
4 uncapped players of Asian descent included in USA squad for CPL invitational match The CPL XI squad will be coached by Tom Moody and captained by Shamarh Brooks.
Brett Lee looking forward to watching Sachin Tendulkar's biopic Sachin: A Billion Dreams will capture minute details of Tendulkar's cricketing and personal life along with some unheard stories.
Batting coach Stuart Law still confident of an Australian victory at Kandy Law wants the Australian batsmen to negotiate carefully the first hour of play on the fifth and final day of the match on Saturday.
Joe Root reveals harsh words from batting coach motivated him to score double century Root felt it was the tempo at which he expects to score in One day cricket was affecting his Test batting
Top 5 DRS decision that changed the course of a cricket match A list of the top 5 DRS controversies that had a bearing on the outcome of a match.
Virender Sehwag remembers Tiger Pataudi's legacy in his own inimitable way Flamboyant opener hails the iconic captain's contribution to Indian cricket on Twitter
England's wait for day-night Test edges closer as Edgbaston gears up to host three-day game under floodlights The match between Warwickshire and Worcestershire's second string sides will now be played with the pink ball.
In conversation with Gundappa Viswanath: "Hit and run players can only play some matches" The legendary batsman talked about the prospects of the Karnataka Premier League and what it has in store for upcoming cricketers.
CPL 2016: St Kitts and Nevis Patriots vs Trinbago Knight Riders, Live Streaming, Team News, Probable XI, Prediction Everything you need to know about the match between St Kitts and Nevis Patriots and Trinbago Knight Riders
South African Nic Pothas appointed Sri Lanka fielding coach
Tamil Nadu Premier League player draft to be held tomorrow The tournament will start in the fourth week of August
Karnataka Premier League 2016 launched by KSCA IPL stars Karun Nair and Mayank Agarwal were present at the event, along with Indian legends Gundappa Vishwanath and Brijesh Patel.
India aim to extend domination against inexperienced West Indies (Preview)
BCCI President Anurag Thakur set to join the territorial army Anurag Thakur is set to add another feather to his cap.
Glenn Maxwell to play for Australia A in first-class matches against South Africa A Maxwell also revealed that he will not be playing domestic cricket in England for the first time in four years.
Scheduled India-West IndiesT20 series in Florida face visa roadblock India and West Indies are likely to play a 3-match T20 series in Florida sometime in late August this year.
Pakistan cricket team visits Manchester United's home ground Old Trafford The Pakistan cricket team and management along with their families were invited by Manchester United to visit Old Trafford.
Twitter wishes Harbhajan Singh and Geeta Basra on becoming parents Twitter wishes Harbhajan Singh and Geeta Basra on becoming parents.
Zimbabwe vs New Zealand, First Test, Day 2 Zimbabwe vs New Zealand, First Test, Day 2. NZ 315/4
More →
Related articles