Will the selectors repose their faith in Laxman?

Written by: Nivedita Aluri
Published: Friday, July 18, 2003, 19:14 [IST]
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Bangalore: As the New Zealand and Australian series approach, lot of thoughts go into the compilation of the Indian team. Although the recent successful performances of the Indians don't indicate many changes in the squad (both Test and the One- dayers), still there is a fair chance of new blood being inducted into the team. Though many players cross our minds, one player who crosses my mind is a brilliant batsman who seems to have gone into woods after the Indian tour of Kiwiland. Vangipurappu Venkata Sai Laxman, the nemesis of the Australian team which visited India in 2001. VVS seems to have gone out of limelight for some time now.

One cannot forget his stupendous performance against the Australians at Eden Gardens, though he did play many a 'gem of an innings' after that Test. His historic knock in Kolkata changed the whole fate of the series - for both Aussies and Indians.

While I feel that he has not lived up to the promise he had shown in that series, I still think he is a talented batsman to have in a team. His wonderful timing, skill to hit the ball on the rise and his ability to play both the pacers and the spinners equally efficiently does make him a class batsman.

It would be interesting to see if Laxman retains his place in the squad, as he doesn't seem to have had a great domestic season especially with a few young players like Gautam Ghambir and A T Rayudu (Laxman's Ranji colleague) knocking at the doors with brilliant domestic performances and fresh performances in England. Laxman also refused to lead the India 'A' team to England.

Laxman's weakness in fielding does appear to be a major drawback for him, which is one of the main reasons why he lost his place in the One-day squad even though he was among runs. To add to it he is not a regular bowler too, however no one can doubt his ability with the bat. Yet he does look vulnerable at times with his poor footwork and concentration, particularly during the initial stages of his innings.

The problem of competing for number three position with Dravid didn't help him much either, for his batting order was shuffled quite frequently leaving him with a problem of adjusting to different batting orders in very little time.

Not only will he have to work extremely hard to earn his place in the squad, but also to retain it as the youngsters are breathing down his neck. It will be a waste of great talent if he cannot make it.

I am sure there are many eager fans to see him in the team. With lot of time in hand after the New Zealand tour one can only hope that he overcomes his weaknesses and is ready for the challenge ahead. The question is will the selectors continue their faith in Laxman?


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