Laxman back at one-drop?
With VVS Laxman getting a lifeline by retaining his spot in the Test squad for the New Zealand series, experts reckoned that the Hyderabadi should play at the No 3, a position vacant after the retirement of former skipper Rahul Dravid, who announced his retirement after the 2011-12 tour of Australia.
Though Laxman has accumulated most runs in his current batting position at No 5 (2877 in 74 innings), at No 3, he has scored 1611 with his career best score of 281 against Australia in the epic Kolkata Test of 2001. He has four hundreds and eight half-centuries at one-drop.
Former India skipper Ajit Wadekar, a No 3 specialist himself, said it is an ideal position for Laxman. “He should definitely play at No 3, now that Dravid is not there. It is an ideal position for Laxman. He has enormous experience and is one of the senior-most cricketers in the team with Sachin Tendulkar,” Wadekar told MiD DAY yesterday.
Former India stumper and chief selector Kiran More also had the same opinion. “It (No 3) is an ideal position for Laxman to bat at. He can definitely do justice to it. But No 5 is also a crucial batting slot where you have to steady the innings or play through the day. Laxman has done an outstanding job in the No 5 position. He has played some great knocks for India. The team management should leave it on Laxman where he wants to bat at. He is a senior player and knows what is good for the team,” said More.
Laxman is going through a rough patch ever since the England tour last year. He has only scored 635 in the last 11 Tests, and one century in 21 matches. Wadekar is, however, convinced that Laxman will bounce back against Kiwis.
“He has scored a lot of runs (8781 in 130 Tests). He can get back to form, there is no doubt about it. He also had a long break (after the Australia tour),” said Wadekar.
Playing the first Test (August 23-27) at his hometown Hyderabad has to be an advantage for the batting stylist. In his only Test innings at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal, he scored 74 before being trapped leg before by New Zealand pacer Chris Martin in November, 2010.