Architects India's most famous
series win in Pakistan
beat Pakistan by 40 runs in the fifth and final One-Day
International to clinch the series 3-2 thanks to VVS Laxman who
came good with a fine 107 to guide India to a healthy total.It
was Laxman's first ODI ton against Pakistan
The term 'Hyderabadi stylist' is one that is not new to Indian
cricket. First popularised by the late ML Jaisimha, an attacking
batsman, the mantle was taken over for many years by
Mohammed Azharuddin. Today, VVS Laxman has honourably made the title his
own. A spate of high scores in the 1999-2000 Ranji Trophy
season, including ten centuries in as many firstclass matches,
confirmed Laxman's pedigree and penchant for tall scores.
In Test cricket however, apart
from a sparkling 167 against Australia at Sydney in a losing
cause, Laxman had done little to show that he was a
world-beater. All that changed dramatically when the Australians
toured India in early 2001.
Going into the series with a Test average of just under 28,
Laxman was not a major cause of concern for the Aussies. In a
rare display of attacking yet consistent batting, Laxman notched
up 503 runs at an average of over 83. More than the sheer volume
of runs scored, it was the manner in which he made his record
breaking 281 at Kolkata that will remain etched in memory for
years to come. It was a flawless innings under pressure that
changed the complexion of a whole series, and signaled the
emergence of a new batting hero. Laxman's 281 surpassed Sunil
Gavaskar's record innings of 236 not out against West Indies at
Madras in 1983 as the highest Test score by an Indian.
Riding on the back of Laxman's efforts, India pulled off a
sensational 2-1 win in a closely contested series. Spurred on by
the success in Tests, Laxman was a changed man in the onedayers,
scoring his maiden ton in the fifth match against the Aussies at
Goa. In short, the series against Australia changed Laxman's
destiny as a cricketer. Rather, Laxman rewrote Indian cricket's
destiny at the expense of the Australians.
Laxman was dropped from the 2003 World Cup Indian squad, largely
on the back of his inconsistency in ODI cricket after the
Australian series. However, he made his presence felt again with
rock-solid batting in the Test series against New Zealand in the
latter half of 2003, and earned a return to the ODI squad.
Laxman scored heavily in the recent Test series against
Australia in Australia, scoring two centuries, and putting on
two 300+ run partnerships with Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar.
Laxman, 300+ for one last time, also answered back his critics,
who didn't believe him to be a good ODI cricketer, by scoring
three centuries within a week in the VB series, two of which
were against Australia.
After a roller-coaster ride in international cricket, it seems
as if Laxman has finally settled down, and has started to live
upto the title "The Hyderabadi Stylist" which was passed onto
him by Mohammed Azharuddin.
Reachout's News Bureau