Friday, December 01, 2006

Can VVS Laxman save India?

Given how India have struggled to be competitive against the South Africans this winter, it wasn't suprising the selectors took all of three games to call in VVS Laxman to bolster the line up. Clearly, the batsmen flailing at deliverings rising above (gasp!) their knee rolls was enough to send Vengsarkar's pulse racing. But the drafting in of VVS as the Indian vice captain, replacing Virender Sehwag has some things worthy of note.

So far the new chairman of selection for India has been honest and forthright about how the team sucks and changes are needed. This is well and good. We'll see how the honesty holds up after a while because Vengsarkar would be criticizing his own work. However, clearly he has thoughts about how things should be and is making changes to rectify what he might have believed wasn't the right way to go in the first place.

The decision to bring VVS back as VC is not stunning if you consider that Sehwag as a vice captain was simply a scary prospect. Rumors of why Sehwag was ousted from the position while still retaining his spot are doing the rounds. But IMO, at no point did he ever appear to be captaincy material. We need a more stable head on steady shoulders to captain a rocky boat like India. This "act and think later" is not a captain's lot. So sanity has been restored with Sehwag's departure from this spot. Also the bells has been rung clearly for Sehwag: "you might be on the way out fella. The only way to be on the team will be to perform consistently". The consolation for Sehwag in all of this is that everyone else around him is struggling just as much as he is.

Back to VVS. A lot of cricket purists will be delighted to see him back. And will hope that he delights them more then he infuriates them (a trend in the past that saw him losing his spot in the team during the England tour). Certainly, VVS's record is not as spectacular as his batting. His average in Tests is 42.70 with 10 hundreds and 25 fifties. To be fair, it is healthy production by a middle order batsman. For the Indian team these days, it is positively Bradmanesque.

Will he struggle just as much as the rest on the bouncy South African pitches? Given his record, he most definitely will. Will his experience be enough to help the team to stop embarassing itself? All of us who are huge fans of the Indian team will certainly be hoping for that.

Meanwhile for those interested in how Pollock has mesmerized Tendulkar, you can find some good stats here.

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