Earlier today I managed to find time to watch a bit of the South Africa V India test match after surfacing from yet another Ashes late night. My time wasn’t wasted as I watched yet another outstanding and potentially match winning performance by the excellent VVS Laxman.
For the second time in less than 3 months Laxman held the Indian innings together at a critical time of both match and series. Neither innings resulted in a century on paper, but surely both are worth far more.
At the start of October, VVS scored 73no batting with the tail against Australia to win the 1st test of the Border-Gavaskar series. It was an outstanding effort, it wasn’t just the 73 runs, it was the context of the game in which he scored them as when he came to the crease the game was all but gone.
Today he did a similar job with the tail on his way to 96 and setting South Africa a target of 303 to win the match and series. This was against Steyn and Morkel on a testing wicket, quality bowlers in their prime on a pitch offering them both plenty of assistance. He also knew that if he failed, the match and series was gone.
Sehwag may have all the shots and Tendulkar all the centuries, but when it comes down to playing the match situation, Laxman surely can’t be bettered. Never mind the glory and the headlines, Laxman plays the match winning and match defining innings.
In the past I’ve heard commentators describe Steve Waugh as the man they would choose to bat for their life. I would without doubt choose VVS and thats why for me he is currently the best batsman in the world.