|Batting style:||Right hand batsmen|
|Place of birth:||Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India|
The orchestrator of Indian cricket’s changing tide from mediocrity to pre-eminence, VVS Laxman will feature vividly in Indian cricket lore for some time to come. The premier memory of VVS Laxman will be his 281 against Steve Waugh’s all-conquering Australia in 2001. On face value, it broke various records, 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 wristwork 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 has been a constant feature in the Indian Test side, along with Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar. He did try to transition his calculated stroke-play to the frantic demands of ODI and T20, but despite an assured average of 30, by 2006, Laxman was soon side-lined in limited overs by the talented Suresh Raina.
Over five days though, few could challenge his position. Even his inferior physical ability - put to test while running between wickets or having to fetch deliveries in the outfield - was regarded trivial enough to overlook. Another instance of repulsion towards the spotlight (a humble streak which never betrayed Laxman) was his quick replacement as captain of Hyderabad in the IPL. But runs kept flowing and centuries kept piling (often against Australia) in typical elegant fashion which constantly endeared him to fans.
If Tendulkar was India’s ‘man of the hour’ and Dravid the dependent ‘wall’, Laxman dabbled somewhere in between, based on the situation. For India, it was an essential balance to have.