|Teams Played||India, India A, India B, Indian Board Presidents XI, Indian Inv XI, India Seniors, Lancashire, Rest of India, South Zone, Young India, Deccan Chargers, Otago, India Under-19, Hyderabad, Kochi Tuskers Kerala, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Sachins Blasters|
VVS Laxman, the premier memory of the artistic Hyderabadi batsman is his 281 against Steve Waugh’s all-conquering Australia in 2001. On face value, it broke various records, was overstated till nostalgia nauseates. But its larger impact was instilling a previously unfound belief and character which the Indian team lacked for decades, paving the way to inspire awe which a nation of fans often demanded but were sparsely supplied with.
Yet, Laxman’s career transcends that single historic knock. His extensive wrist-work after leaning into a delivery while cushioning the ball with confidence never seemed laboured even in bowler-friendly conditions of Australia, New Zealand and the West Indies. For a large part, VVS was a constant feature in the Indian Test side, along with Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar.
“Lachu Bhai” as he is famously called, scored 17 Test tons, way behind Tendulkar and Dravid, but most of those centuries packed a punch. Proficient against fast bowling as well as spin, Laxman scripted many Test wins for India. His ability to bat with tail-enders was second to none. An example of which was seen in the win over Australia in Mohali in 2010. Suffering from back spasms, he along with Suresh Raina (his runner) and nervy Pragyan Ojha, saw India home in a tense finish.
Laxman made his ODI debut in 1998 against Zimbabwe and was out for a three-ball duck to Pommie Mbangwa. He got plenty of starts but could not make the most of them. Out of his six centuries in colored clothing, three of them came in four games in the VB series in Australia in 2004 and that was it. He struggled to cope with the increasing demands of the 50-overs format and was eventually dropped from the side in favour of youngsters. One of the few regrets that he would have despite having a decade long career is that he did not feature in a single World Cup campaign for India.
VVS enjoyed playing the Australians in the longest format of the game, scoring 6 of his 17 tons against them. He suffered a dip in form and after two back-to-back poor series in England and Australia in 2011-12, questions were being asked about his place in the side. He announced his retirement days after being picked for the New Zealand series in 2012.
Laxman tried his luck in the Indian T20 League but did not have much success. After being picked as an icon player by Hyderabad in the inaugural edition, he found no takers and never played the lucrative tournament after featuring for Kochi in 2011. He is now mentor of the Hyderabad franchise and part of the Cricket Advisory Committee set up by the BCCI.