He didn’t care who’s bowling at what pace, made you pay: Brett Lee on India great
The best thing about Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, and VVS Laxman was that they scored against the best attacks during their time. Tendulkar, Dravid, Sehwag and Laxman had great numbers against Australia, Pakistan, England and South Africa to a certain extent. But even they had their favourites among them. And there are no prizes to guess which bowling attack was relished the most by VVS Laxman. Of all his crafty innings, those breath-taking strokes on Day 4 – majority came against Australia. That’s why there was no surprise when Brett Lee singled out Laxman for praise.
Former Australia pacer Lee, who is still regarded as one of the fastest bowlers to have ever played the game, had many memorable battles against Laxman. And on most occasions, Laxman emerged on top, earning great amount of respect not only from Lee but from pretty much all the Australian players of that era.
“It was so hard to get through his technique, a beautiful technique, wasn’t scared of the ball, had a lot of time and great foot movement,” Lee said on Star Sports ‘Cricket Connected’.
Laxman had staggering numbers against Australia. He scored 2434 runs at an average of 49.61 in 29 Tests against the Aussies that included six centuries and a memorable 281 at Kolkata which helped India win the Test match after conceding follow-on in 2001.
His numbers against Australia in ODIs weren’t that bad either. In fact, four out of six ODI hundreds came against the Australians. He scored 733 runs at an average of 46.18 in 21 matches against Australia.
Explaining Laxman’s greatness, Lee, who picked up 310 wickets in 76 Tests and 380 wickets in 220 ODIs, said that the Hyderabad batsman had a certain cheekiness to his batting which made it harder for the bowlers.
“He had that cheekiness about him and that cheekiness in a batsman is hard sometimes because when they’re cheeky and on song, they don’t care who’s bowling at what pace, they’ll get through it and they’ll make you pay and hurt. And VVS sort of had that knack of knowing when a person’s about to get through his spell. He would get through the tough time and then cash in when need to. It was great fun to bowl against him,” Lee said.
Apart from his career-best 281 at Kolkata, Laxman had played a brilliant 143-run innings against Australia at Adelaide in 2003 when after coming in to bat when India 85 for 4, chasing Australia’s mammoth first innings total of 556.
Rahul Dravid had scored 233 in that same innings and India went on to win that match to level the series.
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