VVS in full flight... a treat to watch: Waugh (Sr)

Published: Friday, January 4, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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Sydney: Paying rich tributes on stylish batsman VVS Laxman, former Australian captain Steve Waugh has said watching the Hyderabadi in full flight is like seeing an artist at work.

''He is virtually impossible to contain when in form as he can manipulate the ball into gaps on either side of the wicket with wrists that rotate either way to a greater degree than others can attain,'' Waugh said.

It was the pair of VVS Laxman along with Rahul Dravid that had grounded Australia's record winning streak under Steve Waugh, scoring 376 runs at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

The scale of Laxman's century was less magnificent this time. But the 109 run innings has made Waugh sing praise for the special genius.

''To watch VVS Laxman in full flight is to see an artist at work.

It's impossible to imagine that his Test career has been littered with doubt and failure among flashes of genius, but when his time in Indian colours is up, he should be judged on how he played against the best team of his generation, Australia.'' With five hundreds and three in consecutive tours at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) Laxman has proved how good he is, says Waugh.

'Add to his ability to also play classically and you have a batsman that can attack both unconventionally and in textbook fashion. Not many batsmen have this extra gear. For spectators, he is worth the admission price alone,'' Waugh wrote in his column in 'The Australian'.

The Wisden Cricketer of the Year (1989) also believes that the Aussies enjoy extra potency in the field, which emanates from being blessed with arguably four all-rounders in Adam Gilchrist, Andrew Symonds, Brad Hogg and Brett Lee.

''The great advantage in having players with multiple skills is they virtually become two players. It gives the team depth and extra options.

''India, on the other hand, has really only wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, which leaves the tourists struggling when the opposition begins to dominate. They have to fight tooth and nail to cling on during those periods,'' the 42-year-old Waugh said.

Australia benefited enormously from its multi-skilled players in the first innings. It's lower middle order in the past seven or eight years has achieved more than any other nations.

Waugh says that just like batsman score runs in partnership it is as important for bowlers to bowl in tandem.

He cites the dismissal of Indian opener Wasim Jaffer yesterday as a classic piece of hunting as a unit by the Australian attack.

''Mitchell Johnson attacked Jaffer between the hip and chest, pushing the batsman back in his crease from one end before Brett Lee complemented his work perfectly by delivering an outswinging yorker that had an unsure batsman hovering behind the line. Jaffer's mind was muddled and consequently he was too late playing a shot.''

 Waugh said ''It was a clear sign the two quicks are getting to know each other's style and method of operation, and more of the same can be expected as they continue the great tradition of Aussie quicks attacking in collaboration.

Giving credit to the support staffc for the success of the Australian Team in the field, Waugh said, ''Rarely does Australia get outplayed in the final session and that can be directly attributed to fitness levels. The body and mind are aligned and when the limbs ache, the brain switches off under pressure.

''Much of Australia's success has been built on a reservoir of off-season fitness and regular maintenance from a support group that provides massage, physiotherapy, dietry requirements and strength programs.

''This allows the Aussies to finish every day off with energy and alertness that helps them surge when the opposition shows signs of wilting,'' Waugh said.


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