VVS Laxman says he learnt ‘valuable lesson’ in the 2001 Eden Gardens Test vs Australia | cricket | Hindustan Times
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VVS Laxman says he learnt ‘valuable lesson’ in the 2001 Eden Gardens Test vs Australia

VVS Laxman’s 281 helped India script an iconic win over Australia in Eden Gardens 17 years ago, and the legendary batsmen says he learnt a valuable lesson from that knock.

cricket Updated: Mar 15, 2018 11:29 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
VVS Laxman’s 281 helped India script an iconic win over Australia in Eden Gardens 17 years ago, and the legendary batsmen says he learnt a valuable lesson from that knock.
VVS Laxman’s 281 helped India script an iconic win over Australia in Eden Gardens 17 years ago, and the legendary batsmen says he learnt a valuable lesson from that knock. (Getty Images)

On March 14, 2001 VVS Laxman played arguably the finest innings of his decorated career to lead India’s fight back against a dominant Australian line-up in a series-leveling Test encounter at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

And as fate would have it, 17 years later, the batting great would find himself on the same field that he had conquered with a 10-and-a-half stand, as the batting consultant of Cricket Association of Bengal.

India had crumbled for 171 against arguably the finest Australian team, one that would eventually go onto win three consectutive World Cup titles between 1999 and 2007. Australia had put up 445 and the Test looked lost, until Laxman walked on that is. He scored 281 runs with Rahul Dravid supporting him with 180, to form a 376-run partnership for the fifth wicket and carry India to 657 for 7 before declaring.

Spurred on by Harbhajan Singh’s heroics with the ball, the hosts bowled out Australia for 271 and carve out an iconic 171 victory. And the triumph still remains fresh in the mind of the orchestrator.

“It’s still fresh in my memory — not only me, but everyone who was part of that Test match can never ever forget it, because it taught us a valuable life lesson of never giving up, whatever the situation,”Laxman told Deccan Chronicle.

“Not only in sport but in life too we come across situations that are very tough. You feel that the challenge is too tough to be overcome. When you hang in there, accept the problem, device a solution, you will unlock the situation — that’s what we realised during that Test match,” he added.

“The good thing is there were similar situations in games though their magnitude did not match the one at Eden Gardens. We employed the same formula and carried on — sometimes we achieved good results and sometimes we couldn’t, but we knew how to deal with difficult circumstances,” continued the Hyderabadi.

Reliving the highest praise Laxman said: “Shane Warne (legendary Australian spinner) saying he didn’t bowl bad, meant I was scoring off the good deliveries as well. That’s the kind of compliment that you always remember.”

“When people walk up to you and say ‘you’ve done a good job of serving the country and saved the team from a possible loss,’ it feels very good. A lot of them from different walks of life have come up to me and said watching that match changed their approach towards life.”

Laxman also went onto reveal that his innings had not only helped shape his career, but also given so many people added impetus in their own struggles.

“I go for motivational talks among Corporates where I meet people who tell me that they have been inspired by that innings while going through difficulties in their lives. It’s so nice to hear that. I received one letter that I will never forget. She wrote ‘after watching that match and the series, thanks to you I was able to address the biggest challenge I was going through in my life at that moment.’ Such lines are heartening. It made me realise that we as cricketers unknowingly inspire and encourage people. Our success rubs off on others,” said Laxman.