Laxman bats to help in publication of a biography

Published: Thursday, November 10, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Hyderabad:Stylish Indian batsman V.V.S. Laxman has batted for a new cause, helping in the compilation and publication of a biography on M.L. Jaisimha, a fellow Hyderabadi cricketing icon.

Penned by a Joseph Antony, special correspondent of The Hindu, with Jaisimhas widow Jayati, the book My Way-The Biography of M.L. Jaisimha provides a comprehensive chronology of the exploits of the elegant right-handed batsman, who many regard as one of the finest captains ever to have led India.

Antony says the book, scheduled for a mega launch on November 14, would not have seen the light of the day without Laxman.

He recounted to me everything he could of the dapper Hyderabadi in minute detail. He has stood solidly behind this venture. He even helped me promote the book. He took pains to persuade a big corporate house to sponsor the printing costs of the biography, he says. But Laxman feels that he has only responded to the call of his heart.

I found this cause very close to my heart. I have benefitted a lot from the advice that I got from Jaisimha sir. He had a tremendous ability to boost ones morale. Jaisimha sir has been a role model for cricketers from Hyderabad. We have grown up hearing tales of his exploits on the cricketing field and drawn inspiration from him, Laxman said.

His eyes sparkle as Laxman recalls a personal interaction with Jaisimha.

I remember once when I was going through a lean phase, he walked up to me before a domestic tournament match. Im sure you are going to score a double hundred, my boy, he said in his customary confident manner. This pepped me up. And I got a double hundred, he said.

Laxmans association with the project began in 2001, soon after his epoch making 281 at the Eden Gardens that led India to a historic victory against the seemingly invincible Steve Waugh-led Australians.

He came to the Hyderabad office of The Hindu a day or two after the series on my invitation to share his memories of Jaisimha. And what was slated to be a half an hour session, stretched to an hour and a half, recalls Antony.

Motganahalli Lakshminarsu Jaisimha, revered as much for his elegant front foot drives as for his poise and majestic aura in his playing days, died of cancer about six and half years ago in Secunderabad.

During a Test career spanning 12 years since 1959, Jaisimha scored 2056 runs in 39 matches inclusive of three hundreds. But more than the number of runs, it were his razor-sharp intelligence, stylish approach to the game, the innate flair in batting and charisma that he oozed on the field which made him one of the most popular cricketers that India have ever produced.

He was a born fighter. He never gave up in the most adverse of circumstances. He played to win. And he played with passion, says Laxman.

The 158-page book would be launched by Sunil Gavaskar, who considers Jaisimha as his all-time hero.

The cricketing legend has also written the books foreword, drawing a glowing portrait of his idol.

Such has been Gavaskars admiration for Jaisimha, that he included Jaisimhas name in the name of his son, Rohan Jai Viswa!

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