The test of any sportsperson, i beleive, is against the quality opponents.
No doubt, on 13 march 2001, Eden Gardens, kolkata, in a test match against Australia, team India being bowled out for 171 under 60 overs and were asked to follow on, even in the wildest of dreams, atleast at that time, not many would have thought of winning the game than salvaging a draw.
The History, however, has to be written and records are meant to be broken.
Having scored a gritty 59 runs in the first innings of the test and being asked to bat at No.3 , yes, the Very Very Special, VVS Laxman , an innings of 281 and a good partnership along with Dravid and Sourav Ganguly meant India will go on to make 657/7 , and there upon a magic spell from Harbhajan Singh , involving a Hat-trick, a burst of three wickets in quick succession by Sachin Tendulkar, India, will snatch a Victory from the jaw of defeat.
Born in a family of doctors, it is obvious that very few parents would want their child to sacrifice academics to sports, but his maternal uncle(at that time playing for Hyderabad Cricket Association) Baba Krishna Mohan, would have great influence on his cricketing career in early days and not long his parents will come to terms but with a rider that within five year , by the time he is 22( year 1996) should play for team India.
On 19 November 1996 , after excruciating hardwork at the domestic level forgetting about the result to be picked or not , he would make his debut against South Africa in Ahmedabad, and at 124/7 with a lead of just 103 up against quality bowling attack, he would go on to score his first Test half-century, setting a traget of 170 to win and a six wicket haul by Anil kumble , South Africa would be bowled out for 105 , what more one could have asked for , a victory in a debut test match against a best side.
The ‘team before self ‘ mantra meant he has to sacrifice his usual batting order of No.3 and open the innings for team India or be ready for any other position and that meant technical change to his batting stance and playing against his natural style, a dilemma which would be solved later with a bit of initiative and firmly but politely making his views clear.
In subsequent chapters, the readers will get to know about his role, improvements under various coaches and team India’s journey to No.1 Test side.
The basic requirements to be successful in the slip cordon is to want to catch the ball. If you are afraid that it might come to you, you are better off fielding elsewhere.. and many more tips of catching at slip cordon who himself has a record of 135 Test catches was an intersting read.
On the field there was numerous successful partnership, but off the field you definitely need a support system who can make necessary sacrifices when required, he found that in Sailaja, and as he rightly says, More than one’s career, it is one’s life partner who determines the future.
The role of his batting mates during his carrer was briefly explained, although, readers may be familiar with those, it was good to read from his perspective.
As always, every sporting career has to come to an end, some due to physical constraints, some due to regulations and other on your own terms and out of your choice, and on 18 August 2012, it came out on his own terms.
Personally, i felt , the book is very well written not repeating the cliche often told and offering a new perspective.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: VVS LAXMAN, Indian Cricketer.
with R KAUSHIK
PUBLISHER: WESTLAND PUBLICATIONS PRIVATE LIMITED (An Amazon Company) ; IMPRINT: WESTLAND SPORT.