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.
Totally agree!! Its a pity that he is the most underrated batsman in Indian cricket.
Good call this. And glad to see an English supporter noticing non-Ashes cricket! 🙂
I too would choose Laxman, without hesitation, if a nerveless Test innings under dire circumstances were required. The man is incredible! 3 times this year alone! (he had also made a match-winning 100* in the 4th innings of the last Test in SL in Sept to help India tie the series 1-1…next best score was 54 by Tendulkar)
Just that I would qualify that statement by saying that in Test cricket he has been second to none in 2010…but if one were to consider both Tests and ODIs, Tendulkar has been No. 1 (due to his ODI 200*)…closely followed by AB DeVilliers and Amla. That’s my humble opinion anyway.
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Yes, good point BP and thanks for your contribution. I was judging it on test cricket, but forgot to mention that.
I suppose it’s an English thing, over here we tend to judge a player more on his test pedigree, rather than ODI’s and T20’s. I’m not suggesting that is the correct way to judge a batsman though, it’s just the way we are.
But you are right, Tendulkar, AB and Amla have all had exceptional years in all forms of cricket, I wouldn’t disagree with that at all.
It’s good to see a real contest going on in SA, just because the Ashes are on dosen’t mean that we have to ignore the fact that the two best teams in the world are currently battling it out. I wrote on someone else’s blog a few weeks back, that it is a shame the two series had to clash.
I like to think I’m a cricket fan, as well as an England fan.
It also makes a refreshing change to see a series contested that isn’t just a run fest, techniques are being tested and thats why VVS is excelling. I suppose SA were never going to produce any batsman friendly pudding wickets.
I too am a cricket fan, rather than just an Indian fan. (Woke up at 5.30 am on Nov 26 for Day 1 of the Gabba… I’m pretty sure there were thousands more like me!)
Yup…it’s brilliant to have challenging, result-oriented tracks in SA. And it’s fun to remind the world that this Indian team can go toe to toe even in overseas conditions! I only wish that the team had had at least a couple of first class games prior to the 1st test. Really admired and envied that aspect of England’s preparation for these Ashes…just so immaculately planned out.