It was a very, very special moment for India, as well as the cricketing world when our favourite “Very Very Special Laxman” stole victory from the jaws of defeat right under the Aussie’s nose in the first of the two Test series ensuring India retain the Gavaskar-Border Trophy. This is not the first time he has pulled the cat out of the bag and certainly will not be the last time either. The victory landed in India’s lap after the Aussies almost bagged it.
Ponting, on the verge of securing his first Test win on Indian soil helplessly witnessed Laxman foil his attempt with the utmost ease and disdain. What exactly is the supreme power or of Laxman? Why does he always shine against the mighty Aussies, and then too when the chips are down? Perhaps the answer is “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”. The Aussies are the masters of giving the opposition tough times, and Laxman is beyond doubt the toughest. Popularity wise, he is the last amongst the leading Indian cricketers, plays only the traditional Test format, and comes in late just before the tail begins to wag. He might have earned the least in comparison to his fellow cricketers through endorsements, but only a fool can dare not to endorse his unique batting abilities. He has earned what has eluded the rest - the respect of the masses and of every international cricketer, past or present.
To most, it may look like Laxman is the “unsung hero of Indian cricket” but this is a misconception. His name is forever there on every Indian supporter’s lips as he is watched with awe and respect, India’s last ray of hope in every innings. An untiring tormentor, he is also the Aussie’s “sung villain”. With a lesser batting average compared to the best in business, how come the expectation on Laxman is always high? It is purely due to the timing of his knocks. Always coming at the end of the innings, making the end seem far, most of his stints at the crease are under duress and in severe crises, resulting in nothing but stellar performances.
At his best, Laxman is a treat to watch even for the cricketing Gods. An artist at work, his silken touch place him on a high pedestal. His surgical precision remind all that he was once a medical student. Popular for piling runs with almost a nonchalance, he repeated this feat in his latest innings par excellence. His magical touch ensures good deliveries are turned into bad ones, making him a unique batsman who does not have to wait for bad deliveries to be punished. When this supposedly unsung hero is on song, the most difficult situation appears the easiest. Today's knock was well composed by a composed batsman!
When Dhoni lost the toss at the spin of a coin by calling tails wrongly, none could have imagined that VVS would make the Aussie’s head spin in the company of the Indian tail. In these days of limited overs cricket, plus fixing and other controversies which test cricket, it is players like VVS who ensure Test cricket holds its head high and continues to pull in crowds and gain their trust. Laxman has played many a great innings, but this one will go down in history as one of the greatest ever. Not able to bat freely in the first innings due to a stiff back, Laxman was forced to bat in the second innings when defeat stared India squarely in the face. With no respite from his backache, Laxman carried on to earn India a dream victory without giving a moment’s rest to his spine. By doing so, he has reconfirmed he is the backbone of Team India not just yesterday and today, but for times to come. Laxman has yet again proved miracles do happen
The Aussies have achieved everything sans crossing this “Laxman Rekha”!