VVS Laxman is among the rare breed of gentlemen sportsmen who never complain. When the PadmaShri award was bestowed upon him on Tuesday his only reaction was a beaming smile while thanking everyone concerned, but his family and friends rightly believe the stylish batsman deserved the honour long time ago.
The slight heartburn is due to the fact that he is among the last of the prominent breed of Hyderabadi sportsmen to have been conferred this award. Hockey player Mukesh Kumar was awarded in 2002, tennis player Sania Mirza in 2006 and Saina Nehwal in January 2010.
“It feels extremely good that he won this award, especially since it means that the Indian government is acknowledging your performance, but he should have got it long time ago,” said Baba Krishnamohan, Laxman's maternal uncle and the man who discovered this cricketing gem from Hyderabad.
In the family of scholars, Krishnamohan was the rare one who was into playing cricket and it was he who spotted the talent in Laxman and enrolled him for coaching nets at St George's School playground.
Krishnamohan, however, made it clear that Laxman had no complains. "He doesn't care about it. We are not a family who go after these things. He is a person who is always satisfied, he believes in performance for the country, if the award comes to him is also okay, if it doesn't come to him is also okay.
"But, he should have got this award three to four years ago," said Krishna Mohan.
The 36-year-old veteran of 120 Tests won the award on account of some tremendous knocks, pulling India out of hopeless situations with solo match-winning efforts over the years.
Describing the secret behind Laxman's success at playing under pressure, his uncle said: “He has a tendency to take it easy when there is no pressure, but when the team is under pressure, he is very careful. There are no careless strokes.”