VVS Laxman: India's 'Very Very Special'

Laxman played in an era of batting superstars, but upstaged even the best when on song.



New Delhi:
Vangipurappu Venkata Sai (VVS) Laxman, who announced his retirement from international cricket on Saturday, will always be known as India's turn-to man during a crisis.

The middle-order batsman had both style and substance with an uncanny knack of finding gaps in the field where none appeared to exist, much to the frustration of rival bowlers and fielders.

Laxman, whose parents are doctors, had to make a choice between a medical career and playing cricket before he eventually opted for the willow and made his mark as one of India's finest cricketers.

Australia suffered the most from Laxman's punishing blade as the Indian scored 2,434 runs in 29 Tests against them at 49.67, which is above his current overall average of 45.97 in 134 matches.

Laxman, who made his international debut in 1996, scored 8,781 runs with 17 centuries in his controversy-free career.

He is India's fourth-highest scorer in Tests after Sachin Tendulkar (15,470 runs), Rahul Dravid (13,265) and Sunil Gavaskar (10,122).

Laxman played in an era of batting superstars, but upstaged even the best when on song.

The Hyderabad batsman, who turns 38 on November 1, found his place in the Indian side under threat when he managed just 155 runs in four Tests against Australia earlier this year, averaging 19.37.

His career-best knock of 281 came when Steve Waugh's Australians were poised to win the second Test in Kolkata in 2001, only to rub their eyes in disbelief when India did the unthinkable.

India followed on 274 runs in arrears, but Laxman and Rahul Dravid (180) turned the match on its head with a 376-run stand, which helped their team win the match and end Australia's 16-Test-winning streak.

He was involved in three more mammoth stands against Australia - 353 with Sachin Tendulkar in 2004 in Sydney, 303 with Dravid in Adelaide in the same series and 278 with Gautam Gambhir at New Delhi in 2008.

Nicknamed "Very Very Special" after his initials "VVS", Laxman played numerous special innings, including 148 against at Adelaide in 2003, an unbeaten 124 at Napier in 2009 and 96 at Durban in 2010.

One of his last memorable knocks in a crisis came in 2010 against Australia in Mohali when he defied back pain to mastermind his team's one-wicket win from the jaws of defeat with an unbeaten 73 in the opening Test.

India were facing defeat at 124-8 chasing a 216-run target, but Laxman put on 81 valuable runs for the ninth wicket with tail-ender Ishant Sharma before completing the job with last-man Pragyan Ojha.

Laxman, who made his Test debut in 1996 against South Africa, was often criticised for not converting solid starts into big knocks.

He took more than three years to score his maiden Test century, a robust 167 against Australia at Sydney in 2000 that made the cricketing world sit up and take notice of this special talent.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik spelt a four-wicket defeat for Kolkata. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Moores gets second stint as England coach

Moores gets second stint as England coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh's senior players will have three sessions with a psychological skill development coach later this month More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »