Bikash Singh

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Bikash still thinks cricket's a gentleman's game. And that our batsmen run away with most of the prizes.

The Very Very Special Laxman

Initially, it was tough to play with that feeling of insecurity. It's unfortunate. Sometimes, I think of how many runs I would probably have scored if had been given a free hand. But after 4-5 years of international cricket, I started dealing with it much better and now these things don't bother me - VVS Laxman

Vangipurappu Venkata Sai Laxman has been the main pillar of Indian cricket's 'fab four'. Doesn't it feel hard to imagine an Indian camp without Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS? We are still searching for 'the one' to fill in Sourav Ganguly's shoes since his retirement in October 2008.

Last week my colleague Anirban Choudhury in his piece, For the Love of Dravid, poured his love about a few men in Indian team we hate to see fall. I could not agree to the fact less. VVS is one name frequently undermined and constantly under unsuitable pressure of proving himself over and over again. But you know what, he loves being in those situation - more importantly excels and forces youto  bite your own words.

I am really proud of my achievement today but more importantly I have contributed to India's victory. I always wanted to bat in such conditions, to win matches for the country from difficult situations, said an ecstatic Laxman after guiding India to a series-levelling win over Sri Lanka in the third Test.

He cajoles the ball to its destination like it's nobody's business. A specialist in his own classy technique, Laxman portrays a personality with wholesomeness and endurance whenever he is out there in the middle. His orchestra of wrist artistry is something our youngsters should take getting a chance to play alongside him. VVS literally owned the Australian attack during the classic 2001 series.

At the age of 35, Laxman's maiden Test century on Sri Lankan soil may have come a little late but right on time. They say no pain is no gain - and he explained the phrase beautifully battling back pain during his unbeaten run at the P Sara Oval. Some painkillers and a little help from team physio Nitin Patel was enough for the gritty batsman to help India achieve their fourth-highest successful chase in Tests. He had questions for every answer from the Lankan spinners in Colombo.

In an era of hic hic cricket (Twenty20) Laxman along with Dravid and Sachin provides a peace of mind, reliability and calming influence when they walk out with a willow. They will walk down the aisle without any extravaganza and do what they do best - pile agony on the opposition.

Harsha Bhogle interviews VVS Laxman:

He proved today why he is called very very special. He always comes up with innings that have a huge bearing on the game. It was very important for him to score runs as the team needed it most to level the series. I think it is a very special innings. Hopefully, he plays plenty more innings like this for us, jubilant Indian skipper MS Dhoni said on Laxman's innings.

One may still argue that VVS Laxman has only managed 16 hundreds in 113 Tests. Well, our strong top-order never really allowed him. The stylish Hyderabadi has batted low down the order between No.5 to No.8 throughout his career. He is either found wanting for partners or juggling with the tail-enders. However and whenever the right-handed class act gets a century - he gets it big. A set VVS Laxman is bowlers' nightmare - ask the Australians.

The classic middle-order batsman to the ball is what a knife is to warm butter. VVS follows self-belief with unremitting aggression as the formula to his success with nothing to prove but yet all to play for. The soft-spoken Indian, unperturbed by who's saying what, believes in doing his job for the team quietly and sometimes goes unnoticed.

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