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VVS Laxman?s delight and despair

Five years is a long time and the wheel has come full circle for him, writes Atul Sondhi.

india Updated: Mar 13, 2006 22:01 IST
Atul Sondhi(
Atul Sondhi(

Exactly five years ago, on March 13, 2001, when Laxman woke up in the morning he would not have had an inkling of the making of a glorious chapter in India’s cricketing history, of which he was going to be an integral part.

India were down 0-1 against a formidable Australian side,and staring down the barrel on day three of the Kolkata Test. Replying to Australia’s massive 1st innings total of 445, India were eight down for 128 and Laxman had only Raju for company.

The Hyderabadi, who had come to the crease at the fall of the fourth wicket, was unbeaten on 26, a good enough score considering the plight of the other top order batsmen!

The hosts managed to add 43 more runs but more importantly, Laxman scored 59 and looked very confident as he negotiated Australian pacemen on a pacy wicket.

Steve Waugh immediately enforced follow-on and India sent Laxman as one-down batsman. The rest is history.

The change in batting position did wonders to Laxman’s form and his 281, scored over the next two days, became part of the cricketing folklore. The final frontier remained intact for three more years, before Ponting and his men decided that enough is enough.

Wonder how Laxman must be feeling on March 13, 2006. Unlike this day five years ago, India were in a formidable position as they started their quest for victory against England, with Laxman watching from the sidelines.

And this time the main destroyers were Kumble, who did not play in the 2001 series due to injury, and rookie Munaf Patel.

Even for a great team man like Laxman, applauding from the stands must be very difficult.

The Hyderabadi will also be ruing his failure to get another chance to showcase his skills at Mohali, which has been one of his favourite grounds.

 Batsmen Tests Avg Runs 100/50
 VVS Laxman 3 128.50 257 1/2
 V Sehwag 2 85.00 340 2/0
 S Tendulkar 6 56.88 455 1/3
 R Dravid 5 47.57 333 1/2

An average of 128 is remarkable by any standards and considering that two of the other three batsmen in this list did flourish, may be Laxman missed out on a golden opportunity.

But then, Laxman’s immediate past did not enthuse the selectors much.

However, he may once again get an opportunity to prove his worth when India take on England at Mumbai on March 18.

Considering that Piyush Chawla is too raw and Indian batting line-up was almost exposed in the 1st innings of Mohali, Laxman will probably get one more chance.

And the dates do coincide with the Chennai Test of the 2001 series, where Laxman had hit two fifties as India won the match, and a historic series.

First Published: Mar 13, 2006 21:18 IST