"No-one has a God-given right to play in the XI.”
Andrew Strauss is faced with a problem of plenty for the first Test against India at Lords.
What he really meant:
“The starting XI is to be the best form players of the moment. A place in the XI has to be earned, it’s no gift.”
What he definitely didn’t add:
“Not even me.”
Cometh the hour, cometh the man!
How trite it sounds, how repetitive , how boring.
But there is nothing trite about VVS Laxman,nothing monotonous and his sublime touch has cricket fans transfixed and spellbound.
He has always seemed the bridesmaid,never the bride.
Even though he has that very,very special 281 and that blinding, blistering 167, both against the Aussies, one at Kolkata, the other at Sydney in 2000 when he opened the innings at the outset of his career.The 167 denotes a period when the selectors persisted and insisted that he take up the opener’s role.
This at a time when although the Indian team had a multitude of contenders to the middle order , finding a regular opener to see off the new ball was an exercise in futility. Laxman, however, put his foot down and signaled his intention to stake a place in the middle or not play at all. For a lesser light it would have meant a premature eclipse to a budding career, but neither Laxman nor his claim to greatness could be denied, would be denied.
The 2001 home series against the Aussies cemented his place in the pantheon of cricketing greats. Laxman will always be identified by that defining, unbelievable, edifying knock against an Aussie side that seemed nigh invincible.
Steve Waugh’s kangaroos were made to bleed from a thousand cuts by a cavalier Laxman; the Eden loss also ended the Australian team’s run of sixteen victories on the trot. Interestingly, Australia’s world record of sixteen consecutive victories , was ended by India twice over. There really is something about an Aussie-India series; it brings out the best and sometimes the worst in both sides. A rivalry to match and perhaps surpass the Ashes.