Confessions Of A Forced Spectator digs through the statistics and columns and figures and comes out with a surprising conclusion about V.V.S. Laxman. Usually, commentators talk about Laxman’s Hyderabadi style (“My, what gorgeous wrists you have!”), but he’s also the mainstay of the India’s lower-middle batting line-up. And, judging from the numbers, he’s been getting better and better of late:-
Tendulkar leads the team when it comes to away performance while Laxman is a close second. Sehwag is third but his average and percentage of 50+ scores drop considerably when he plays away from home. One thing these stats don’t tell you is that Laxman has been better than Tendulkar if you exclude performances against Bangladesh. In fact, his average drops to 44 if you take out that opposition. Laxman, though, has maintained his performance by averaging 50.52 if you exclude his innings against Bangladesh. He’s also more consistent than Tendulkar, going past 50 in 42% of his innings while Tendulkar has done it in just 34% of his innings. There is definitely a case for Laxman being the most reliable middle order batsman in the side.
India’s batting line-up works because it has a great opening pair (Sehwag being the potential match-winner); an unbelievable No. 3 (who may or may not be slipping of late); and then one of the best batsmen of all time. This means you give little thought to Laxman (Fives never get as much as respect as they should, no?), but I’ve seen enough matches when the top-order fails to know not to give up until Laxman is done.