Bangalore, Aug 19: Sourav Ganguly is the "Prince of Kolkata" but the undisputed "King of Kolkata" is none other than VVS Laxman.
Laxman, who called it quits from international cricket on Saturday, had a special bonding with Kolkata's Eden Gardens.
When one thinks of Eden Gardens, Laxman's epic 281 in 2001 comes to mind instantly. But, that is not the only one knock which the Hyderabadi produced at the famous ground.
Laxman's love affair with Eden Gardens began with that historic innings.
In 10 Test matches in Kolkata, Laxman scored 1,217 runs at an incredible average of 110.63. He constructed five centuries on the Kolkata pitch and claimed a wicket as well as a bowler!
In those 10 Tests which Laxman played in Kolkata, India won six, lost two and the other two were drawn.
The artist from Hyderabad was the darling of Kolkata fans. The city and the Indian team will definitely miss him.
To average more than a hundred at a particular venue is just amazing.
Laxman had described Eden Gardens as his "special ground". Indeed it is a special ground for a Very Very Special player.
The 37-year-old's final hundred of his career also came at the Eden. His 176 against West Indies last November was his 17th and final Test three-figure mark. It was also the last time Laxman played a Test at the Eden.
Laxman's Test journey at the Eden began 16 years ago against South Africa in 1996. It was not a memorable beginning as he scored just 15 runs in two innings of that game. Further, three innings in 1998 and 1999 fetched him 167 runs.
But all that changed in March 2001 when Australians arrived. From 59 in the first innings of that historic Test, Laxman batted at number three to pilot India to one of the greatest comeback victories of all time. His 281 in the second essay is still rated by man as the greatest individual Test innings by an Indian batsman.
He has two hundreds against West Indies and one each versus Australia, Pakistan and South Africa at the Eden.
The Hyderabadi's average against West Indies in Kolkata is 378 followed by 145 against Australia.
One of the finest slip fielders India ever produced, Laxman also took 11 catches in Kolkata.
On Saturday, the day of Laxman's retirement, Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) paid rich tributes to him by put up a hoarding of his historic partnership with Rahul Dravid in 2001.
"King of Kolkata" will certainly be missed.
Here is a list of Laxman's scores at the Eden Gardens
1. 14 and 1 Vs South Africa, November-December 1996
2. 95 Vs Australia, March 1998
3. 5 and 67 Vs Pakistan, February 1999
4. 59 and 281 Vs Australia, March 2001
5. 48 and 154 not out Vs West Indies, October-November 2002
6. 38 Vs South Africa, November-December 2004
7. 0 and 24 Vs Pakistan, March 2005
8. 112 not out Vs Pakistan, November-December 2007
9. 143 not out Vs South Africa, February 2010
10. 176 not out Vs West Indies, November 2011