Being born in the age of ‘Munni’ and ‘Sheila’, I sometimes wonder how it would have felt to watch Mozart performing live? Something like watching Laxman bat? Maybe.
I have been a fan of Laxman for the past one decade but for those who considered him to be just another veteran middle-order batsman for India, 2010 has really been an eye opener.
Be it Colombo or Mohali or Ahmedabad or Durban, Laxman has showed the world what disaster management is all about! When the whole country loses hope and surfs through other channels to catch something interesting on the television, this hero starts his task silently. How often has it happened with you that a friend informs you or you, by chance, come to know that Laxman is still playing and India is in a better situation and you exclaim, ‘Oh teri!’ and jump back to flip to the sports channel?
Laxman is built of unique mettle. And other than his typical Hyderabadi, wristy batting style, he is incomparable with anyone under the sun. He has not only saved an innings or a match year after year, but I believe he has the biggest contribution in reviving Indian cricket in the past decade.
His 281 knock at Eden Gardens has not only been his career’s best but I would say it was the best-ever in Indian cricket because it was THE innings that changed the face of Indian cricket. India defeated the Steve Waugh’s ‘unbeatable’ army and all of a sudden a new leash of life was injected in the Indian team. From being the quarter finalists of the 1999 World Cup, they turned out to be the finalists of World Cup 2003. If India have been reaping a bumper harvest in cricket over the past few years, it was because of the seeds that was sown during that epic innings by Laxman at the Eden Gardens.
How many of us are aware of the fact that in the last three years, Laxman has been the 5th best Test batsman with an average of almost 60 per innings? His average during this period has been more than the likes of Ricky Ponting, Rahul Dravid, Jacques Kallis, and almost equal to that of Sachin Tendulkar. In the past five years, Laxman’s batting average has been 51.17.
His career might not have been blessed with ‘n’ number of centuries, half -centuries, cola ads, mobile ads, captaincies, vice-captaincies, rumours with onscreen divas… but there are no questions that he has always served our team silently (sometimes even with injections!) like a saint.
Isn’t it a pity that even Aishwarya Rai, Saif Ali Khan and Nayan Mongia (!) gets a Padmashree from the Government of India while this real hero has been ignored for years and years too conveniently!
But all such accolades or non-issues must have never been a concern for the true Karmayogi that he is. He does his job with a pure heart and leaves the rest to be judged by others.
VVS Laxman will always remembered as ‘The Monk who served his team silently!’
(Bhanusmita Banik has been a passionate cricket fan all through her life. A graduate with Comparative Literature and an MBA in HR, she so passionate about the game that she has never missed an international cricket match at Eden Gardens in the past seven years)