Dropping V.V.S. Laxman Isn’t A Good Idea

I’m surprised to see the knives have started to come out for V.V.S. Laxman. Cricinfo collected advice from former players — always a source to be taken with caution — and a couple suggested bringing in Rohit Sharma in Laxman’s place. E.g., Sanjay Manjrekar:

“I would still drop VVS [Laxman] and get Rohit [Sharma] in for next Test. Makes long-term sense. Give Virat [Kohli] one more Test … just to be sure he does not belong here. VVS averages 20 in last 12 overseas innings. Even if he gets a good score in next Test, it will not serve India long. Also if Virat, before the tour, was India’s next big thing, should he not get more than two Tests on his first stint in Australia?”

The issue is that it’s silly to “make long-term sense” when you have a more pressing short-term goal — namely, avoiding a consecutive overseas whitewash. After this tour, India won’t play another overseas game for a year, giving youngsters ample time to fill in big shoes in less difficult terrain than the WACA. Besides, whatever success India has earned abroad has come from Sehwag, Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman. Let’s give them two more Tests, please.*

One small point to end: I think a reasonable case can be made that the weakest link in the line-up is Sehwag, who too often gets out early to an impetuous shot, exposing the middle order to a newish ball. I know people — i.e., Ian Chappell — like him for the attacking option he offers India, but I’d rather have two staid openers who kill the new ball than someone who leaves the No. 3 at his every beck and call.

* Did anyone else catch the anger in Sourav Ganguly’s voice when he started to talk about Michael Hussey? Ganguly said it was strange and ridiculous that Hussey was under pressure, given the Ashes series he had less than a year earlier. “Just because of his age,” Ganguly said, letting off more than a whiff of bitterness about the circumstances that led to his own retirement.  I imagine Ganguly is secretly happy that his former position has yet to be permanently filled — but is there a lesson here about age and retirement? Is it better to let older players stay on if you don’t have a good replacement, or is it better to let them go and try and blood newbies on the spot? (Call this the Jay Leno-Conan O’Brien conundrum.)

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5 thoughts on “Dropping V.V.S. Laxman Isn’t A Good Idea

  1. fckingblog says:

    The Sehwag idea sounds fair. I don’t think anyone has to be dropped, probably just Ashwin for Ojha to see what Ojha can do differently but I suppose Kohli will make way for Rohit at Adelaide if he fails at Perth. Laxman is/should be safe at least on this tour, against this specific opposition (remember RP coming in against England?).

  2. […] punditry calls for long-term thinking over short-term fixes. Screw long-term sense. There’s a time to build, but it’s not […]

  3. golandaaz says:

    i am well and truly surprised at the amount of rope most fans and bloggers are willing to give this Indian team.

    A white wash is rare in cricket (matches > 3 tests) and usually represents something structurally wrong. A whitewash of a #1 team has probably never happened before it happened to India.

    It throws up questions of strucural problems and accountability. For me the template for Indian wins has always been built around batting to first ensure against a loss and bowling to win the games where the pitch and conditions favor the bowlers

    In England the batsmen failed with no real excuse the bowlers had the excuse of inexcperience, injury and Harbhajan. Harbhajan paid the price. So should SRT, VVS and RD. They have outlived the template they themselves created.

    We needed to fire them (ceremonially of course) after England. Instead many ‘bought’ into the self serving excuse by the players that England was ‘bad-luck’. I don’t buy it.

    I care little for who is dropped. After 6 tests if VVS is unjustly dropped, so be it. He deserves it; so would Rahul and SRT.

    Dropping Sehwag and GG is counter intutive to the logic I am using; which is that Sehwag will still figure in the new template India builds to win.

    I agree that wholesale changes mid-tour are not going to do anything…but start with VK and RS both in the team @ #3 and #4. Play the rest around these 2. Drop one of RD, VVS, SRT. It truly does not matter which one

  4. Nikhil Puri says:

    Mate. Sanjay Manjrekar is off his rockers. What sort of sense does – “if Virat Kohli was the next big thing” make? Who cares about a media-created title like that? I said it before and I’ll say it again, that guy isn’t ready for test match cricket overseas. Sharma must be played at the WACA.

  5. Gana says:

    @golandaaz
    really Sehwag in the new template ? God save that new template. We are talking about a guy who has talked retirement when reaching 100 tests , who has the worst batting average overseas in the last countless years, does not care and everything is ‘natural’ to him

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