Vangipurapu Venkata Sai Laxman, popularly referred to as VVS Laxman or just Laxman was one of the batting mainstays in the Test squad. He is certainly the most underrated of the Fab 4, the quartet, which consists of the likes of Sachin, Dravid, and Ganguly. An elegant stroke maker, he was a key to the Indian team’s fortune in the middle-order. Technically sound, his flick, the precise wrist-work was a treat to the eyes. The ability to place a ball on and outside the off-stump through the mid-wicket/square-leg region is not easy to perfect. However, he had mastered this art and scored lots of runs on the on-side.
AN ACT OF BRILLIANCE
Laxman debuted in 1996, but his career took off in the real sense in 2001. He scored one of the best innings in the history of Indian cricket’s Test journey. The ruthless Aussies had bruised the spirits of the Indians by enforcing the follow-on at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata. Promoted to number 3 after an impressive half-century in the first innings, VVS probably played the best innings of his career. Partnering with Dravid, he tired out the Aussies with spectacular strokes and digging-in at the crease. The partnership worth 376 runs set the platform for the team’s one of the greatest comebacks in history. India defeated the mighty Steve Waugh led Australian side on the back of Laxman’s 281. This win also heralded the start of a new era of Indian cricket. The team had now learned to fight against cricketing powerhouses.
OVERVIEW OF BATTING CAREER
VVS Laxman was a Test mainstay but could not replicate his success story in the limited-overs. A batting line-up studded with world-class players, the competition was tough in ODIs. He never got a longer stay in the ODI side to prove his caliber. A dismal show in one or two matches and he would find himself out of the squad. However, his comebacks would always be stellar, with VVS justifying his place in the squad. Not for once could he get into the squad for an ICC World Cup and that must be his biggest regret.
His Test career exhibits memorable performances, especially against the Aussies. VVS had a liking for the Australians, and he has scored twice the runs against them than versus any other opponent. Laxman has the ability to bat with the tail-enders. His partnership with Ishant Sharma in the 2010 match against Australia in Mohali helped India win by a sole wicket. When Ishant walked out to bat, 92 more runs were needed. It was Australia’s match to lose, but Laxman had other plans. His partnership with the no.10 batsman proved his extraordinary ability to play with the bowlers.
His form took a turn for the worse in the 2011-12 season, and he retired from all formats of the game in 2012.
FORMAT MATCHES RUNS 100S 50S BEST SCORE
TEST 134 8781 17 56 281
ODI 86 2338 06 10 131
INTERESTING FACTS AND ACHIEVEMENTS
- His stellar match-winning knock of 281 appeared sixth in the list of Wisden’s 100 greatest Test innings.
- The Government of India rewarded him with Padma Shri in 2011.
- He is the only Indian cricketer to score more than 1000 runs at a single venue while averaging more than 100. (1217 runs at Eden Gardens)
- He was Wisden’s cricketer of the year, 2002.
VVS was born in Hyderabad. He married G. R. Shailaja, and the couple has two children, son Sarvajit, and daughter Achinthya.
VVS Laxman continues to contribute to the game as an analyst and commentator. He is also the mentor of the IPL team, Sunrisers Hyderabad.