Batting great VVS Laxman on Tuesday recollected how he wanted the Indian team to return home immediately after the infamous monkey-gate scandal at Sydney in 2007-08. “I was the one who suggested that we should go back home immediately because it was clear it was one-sided and it was not fair but Anil (Kumble) showed great leadership qualities and managed everything,” Laxman said during the Delhi launch of his book ‘281 and Beyond’ here.
India lost the second Test of 2007-08 Border Gavaskar Trophy after Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds found themselves in the middle of a racial abuse scandal which, coupled with some questionable umpire decisions, had snowballed into a big crisis and Indian team had threatened to abandon the tour before ICC intervened.
“Perth win mattered for what happened at Sydney. We as a team felt that we were let down by umpires, there were a lot of atrocious decision given against us, and we lost that match, so it was important for us to win at Perth.” Laxman credited the “big-hearted” Indian tail-enders for making it possible for him to score runs during his illustrious Test career for India.
“I was very selfish because no. 6 was not a position suited to my batting. My batting suited to number 3 as I could use the pace of the ball. Batting at No. 6 meant that invariably the opposition captains would set the field and ball at the tail-enders,” he said.
“So I had to come up with a strategy to score runs, to build a partnership. I used to play big shots and get out initially. So I had a discussion with John Wright and we thought it was important to enhance the batting skills of the bowlers.
“All these bowlers had a big heart. There were challenging bowlers at that time which required technique. So it was decided that each batsman was responsible for a bowler, so I realised that the only way I can score runs was by rotating the strikes. So thanks to them for playing with such mental toughness.” Laxman said he had a lot of negativity after failing to retire with a win against Australia Down Under in a four Test series in 2011 12.
“There was a lot of frustration and negative emotions in me especially after losing 0-4 in Australia because it was my dream to retire on a high and I was not able to achieve that and I was shattered,” he said.
Laxman also narrated a lot of anecdotes from his illustrious career right from when he was uncomfortable sharing the room with Zaheer Khan, to being late for a Test match and India skipper MS Dhoni riding a bus at Nagpur during a Test match against Australia.
(With PTI Inputs)