VVS Laxman has heaped praise on Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni for their ability to take down opposition players, who used to sledge them, with their eyes and answered them with their bat. The stylish Hyderabadi has also added that strong mental toughness helped him play all his shots.
On his heyday, VVS Laxman was a sight for the gods. With a powerful wrist and the ability to play a similar ball to two different sides of the wicket, made the connoisseurs of the game drew comparisons with Sachin Tendulkar. He belonged to the famous "fab five" era of Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, and Sourav Ganguly - a group of supremely skillful batsmen and driven cricketers, who helped take Indian cricket to unprecedented heights, culminating in the team ascending the numero uno status in Tests for the first time, late in 2009, under the leadership of MS Dhoni.
Apart from their on-field exploits, what made them even more special was the way they conducted themselves and never crossed the limit when it comes to sledge any opposition cricketer. The Hyderabad cricketer revealed that Tendulkar and Dhoni handled that kind of situation in a calm way.
“It depends on the individual. The players sledged me but I looked straight into their eye without saying a word and my bat did the talking. Even Sachin Tendulkar had many run-ins with Glenn McGrath. He would simply stare at Glenn and did the rest with the bat. So is Mahendra Singh Dhoni. But Virat Kohli is different. He shows it with his aggressive posture,” Laxman told Telangana Today.
Laxman, who was selected to take admission in a medical college, chose cricket as a career and ruled the Test arena for close to 16 years. Such was the artistry that he brought to batting that he, sometimes, made the numbers seem almost superfluous. With the delicate touch of a surgeon, he bisected gaps and created angles that were the sight for sore eyes. He revealed his secret for the 16-year long successful career and gave credit to his mental toughness for the same.
“Visualisation is very important. I always believe one has to visualise before a big match. I used to prepare myself mentally. When you are in good form, all the good shots, the crowd chanting your name and the appreciation of your teammates, plays in your mind. But when your form is bad, then you feel you have knicked the first ball to the keeper or that the ball has rattled the timber. That is the time, you should immediately snap and get out of that. Mental toughness is the key to success.
“But as I began to play more matches, I was not that rigid in my technique and it would change. But I could play all my shots because of strong mental toughness,” Laxman stated.
He gave an example of Pullela Gopichand and PV Sindhu, who worked hard for the 2016 Rio Olympics, which helped Sindhu become the first Indian woman to win a silver medal in badminton.
“Both coach Pullela Gopichand and Sindhu had shut themselves off from the rest of the world. It was all about practice and concentration, which helped them achieve the result.”
After the retirement from the cricket field, the 42-year-old is now enjoying his new role in the commentary box.
“Both cricket and commentary have to be practised regularly. If you miss practice sessions, you miss the flow, be it batting or commentary,” he said.