While he left you spell-bound with his artistry with the bat in his whites, VVS Laxman appeared almost as charming in a grey suit. He was articulate, meticulous and free-flowing while delivering the Dilip Sardesai memorial lecture here at the Cricket Club of India on Thursday evening.
Reliving the makings of his glorious career, he recalled about about how India’s ’83 World Cup win hooked him onto the game, how delighted he was when his friends in `gully cricket’ labelled him as `Sunil Gavaskar’ due to his `perfect defensive technique,’ and how, as a 17-year-old, he faced the dilemma of choosing between a career in medicine, which would’ve seen him `wield a stethoscope instead of a bat,’ before his parents gave him a five-year target to succeed in the game, failing which he would have to quit cricket and focus on his studies.He sang praises of India Test skipper Virat Kohli, who’s in a bit of a slump currently, and off-spinner R Ashwin, who recently became the second-fastest to 200 Test wickets, at Kanpur. He also batted for daynight Test cricket with the pink ball, and lauded the BCCI for taking the longer version of the game to smaller centres.
“I’m convinced that daynight Tests are the way forward. I must hasten to add that daynight first class cricket is still a work in progress. There’re plenty of issues that need to be addressed, especially in India, where cricket is a winter sport. How do we tackle the dew, for instance?
“How do we maintain the balance between bat and ball? How do we ensure that we don’t compromise on our strength, which is spin. These are all questions that need to be answered with conviction, before we embrace daynight Test matches in totality, but we must do anything we can to bring the crowd to the ground to watch Test matches without compromising on the basic fibre of the sport. The turnouts at the Adelaide pink ball Test last year between Australia and New Zealand as well as the recently concluded Duleep Trophy are a shot in the arm for the game under lights.
“It gives people the opportunity of coming to cricket after a day at work, and if that opportunity can be allayed to quality fare and amenities that the fans will enjoy , I’m that we will have a winning product,” Laxman felt.