Saturday, August 7, 2010
Very very special Laxman
In recent times, my passion for test cricket has dwindled a bit, as I am tired of watching batsmen filling their boots on some flat decks. I was always taught that test cricket is the highest form of the game and the beauty of test cricket lies in it being an equal contest between bat and ball, but unfortunately, nowadays I feel test cricket in most cases is heavily tipped in favour of the batsmen. So, it was a pleasant surprise to see bowlers dominating in England. In Srilanka too we saw a ripper of a contest as the Lankan spinner Randiv was getting turn and bounce, but the little maestro Tendulkar and the very very special Laxman came up with a great exhibition of batting to help India square the series.
What can I say about Laxman? he is god gifted and a pleasure to watch as his batting is full of grace and timing yet, whenever India fails he seems to be the fall guy. Anyway, coming back to Laxman's batting, he used the crease beautifully to either smother the spin of Randiv, or to shorten his length to play it through the on-side with soft hands. It just confused Randiv and he lost his rhythm. Laxman never seemed to be troubled by any bowler, though he was struggling with cramps. Every shot Laxman plays is graceful, but the shot that I really like is his on-drive, as there is so much wrist work involved with that shot. In simple words, it is a very very special shot which only Laxman can play!
On the other hand, the little master Tendulkar wasn't at his best nevertheless, he played a fighting knock and gave Laxman the support at the other end. Nowadays, Tendulkar has become a great accumulator of runs. His batting may not be as attractive to watch as it used to be, but it has become even more difficult to get him out. He quickly reads the pitch and the bowler and cuts out what he feels would be a risky shot. For instance, Randiv was getting bounce, especially with the new ball, so Tendulkar decided to not rock onto the back-foot and look to pull when Randiv would bowl short, instead he was happy to play with soft hands to rotate the strike. It isn't any surprise that in his last seven tests, he has been able to notch up five hundreds.
I have to also mention a bit about Sangakkara's captaincy. In recent times, I have seen captains employing defensive fields, but nothing can beat what Sanga did today. Singles were on offer everywhere as the field was spread and for sometime, he didn't even have a slip fielder. So, was Sanga trying his best to be a gracious host as India all the time play Lanka?
Anyway, the match would no doubt be remembered for a very very special innings by Laxman. I can't think of too many days when Tendulkar has been overshadowed, but today Laxman was able to do it. Another feather in his cap is that for the first time, any visiting batsman has scored a hundred in a successful run chase in Srilanka. The simple fact is, Laxman is a match winner and any team would like to have a player like him.
In the match at Edgbaston, I see that my favourite player KP has got some runs. I think today he should buy a lottery ticket as he has been unbelievably lucky, but I guess when a player is out of form, he deserves a bit of luck though anyone getting so much luck?