Laxman is a tough character, says Dravid
When VVS Laxman was announcing his retirement in Hyderabad on Saturday evening, a lot of people were wondering where the man with whom he had shared so many fine and important partnerships was. Rahul Dravid was stuck on a flight at that very point, somewhere between London and Bangalore. Laxman had perhaps, for once in his life, got the timing wrong and couldn't have Dravid beside him when he told the world his time was up.
"We had spoken a few times after I had retired but I must admit that I was a little surprised at the timing (of the decision to quit), in the sense that he had been selected for the Tests against New Zealand," Dravid told. "But then we have to respect his decision, after all he is the best judge. The thing is he always played for the right reasons, right things. Perhaps he felt he was compromising some of that.
"It must have started crossing his mind that there are some youngsters who needed a look-in." Dravid always rated Laxman's ability with the bat very high and he minced no words on that. "He is one of the finest batsmen India has produced. Someone who I always thought had a very tough character. He simply loved challenges, loved a contest," said Dravid. "He was known as a nice guy and while the opponents too knew that, they also knew he was a gutsy cricketer with a tough streak about him."
For cricketers, it is the respect of their peers, be it teammates or opponents that is paramount and Dravid was sure Laxman scored really high on that count. "There is no doubt in my mind that he always had the respect of players across the world, be it his teammates or opponents. He was not only a nice guy but a fantastic cricketer, that was well known."
When asked what he would remember Laxman most for, Dravid said: "The best part about Laxman was his sense of grace on and off the field, both in good times and bad times. "I will also remember him most for his sense of balance while batting, his ability to keep smiling whatever the situation and the tenacity to keep bouncing back." Both the stalwarts shared many an epic stand and as there were so many, Dravid didn't want to single out any of them.
"All I can say is that Laxman played in a highly successful era of Test cricket for India and played a big role in that success, both with his performance on the field and personality off it," Dravid said. What's clear is that there is now a gaping hole in India's batting lineup which will probably not be filled any time soon.