What's wrong with Laxman?

Written by: Suhrid Barua
Published: Saturday, October 30, 2004, 14:47 [IST]
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The silken touches, the scorching cuts, robust pulls, cracking drives down the ground- all part of the wide array of strokes VVS Laxman has in his repertoire, seems to have deserted him at least for now as he faces arguably one of the biggest crisis of his cricketing career.

The Hyderabadi has looked completely out of sorts so far in the series. With the national selectors deciding not to wield the axe on him, Laxman gets another photo opportunity to redeem himself. However, contrary to expectations, the 29-year-old batsman, long regarded as the scourge of the Australian bowlers, has even bemused the visitors with his insipid showing with the willow.

A player with truckloads of talent, Laxman, best remembered for the epic 281 he scored against the Australia at Kolkata in 2001, has performance-wise plumbed to such depths that it's hard to imagine that whether this was the same Laxman, who had taken on the Aussie attack in Australia last season and that too with great dexterity.

To be fair, Laxman doesn't have a great footwork. But he compensates that with superb hand-eye coordination. Add to that he is a sweet timer of the cherry. For a guy, who likes to score in boundaries and hates building an innings with ones and twos, the Aussies surely stuck to a gameplan. They stopped feeding to his strengths and stifled the early flow of runs he normally scores in quick time.

What is happening is that Laxman is not able to ease into the 20s or 30s in a fluent manner which he used to accomplish earlier without fuss. By drying up the runs and not to bowling to his strengths, the Aussies were playing the waiting game at most times.

In such a scenario, Laxman as was evident in all the three Tests, he was unable to curb his attacking instincts and invariably did the visitors wanted; playing into their hands by playing an atrocious shot.

The mode of his dismissal in the second innings of the Nagpur Test when he went hard at a short one from Kaprowicz only to hold out to McGrath only symbolizes that he was trying to hit our of trouble, which was hardly the way to go about things especially at a juncture when India wobbling with the loss of three early wickets.

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