'I never swept': VVS Laxman explains how runs can be scored on a turning pitch in two ways
There has been a lot of talk about the pitches on offer in the ongoing Test series between India and England. The debate has escalated since the recently-concluded India-England day-night Test in Ahmedabad which ended just after Dinner on Day 2. But despite the criticism, former India batsman VVS Laxman believes it is possible to score runs on turning tracks if batsmen trust their defence.
The day-night Test in Ahmedabad ended up being the shortest Test match (in terms of balls bowled) since 1935 with no team crossing the 150-run mark. India chased down the 49-run target in the fourth innings with all 10 wickets intact but 17 wickets fell on Day 2, all of them to the spinners.
Laxman said he never played the sweep shot but he had two options – one was to use his feet and another was to go right back in the crease.
“I never swept, there were two options: step down the wicket, or go right back and play late. Go back early and play late, after allowing the ball to finish doing whatever it is. That’s how I disrupted length. The bowler will think he is bowling too full or too short, adjust his length, and in the bargain I would get overpitched deliveries to drive or short balls to pull,” Laxman told the Guardian.
“I rarely played an aerial shot. I used my feet and played along the ground. If I did play the aerial shot, it had to be a high percentage one,” he added.
Explaining his point of how a batsmen can score runs while trusting their defence, Laxman said the stride shouldn’t be too long as it crams the batsman.
“You have to have to have belief in your defence. If you don’t, your mind is restless, shot selection becomes problematic, decision-making translates into poor footwork, into reaching towards the ball, picking the length wrongly, and that will lead to your dismissal. You will look out of place batting on these surfaces.
“Defence doesn’t mean just taking a long stride forward. Defence is where you’re transferring your body weight, and your stride is just so long that you can get bat in front of pad,” Laxman explained.