Laxman like an artist at work: Steve Waugh

Former Australia captain Steve Waugh has said that watching VVS Laxman in full flight is to see an artist at work.

updated: January 07, 2008 10:00 IST
  • Total Shares


Former Australia captain Steve Waugh has said that watching VVS Laxman in full flight is to see an artist at work.

"It's impossible to imagine that his (Laxman) Test career has been littered with doubt and failure among flashes of genius, but when his time in Indian colours is up, he should be judged on how he played against the best team of his generation, Australia," Waugh wrote in his column in The Australian.

With five hundreds and three in consecutive tours at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) Laxman has proved how good he is, says Waugh.

"He is virtually impossible to contain when in form as he can manipulate the ball into gaps on either side of the wicket with wrists that rotate either way to a greater degree than others can attain.

"Add his ability to also play classically and you have a batsman that can attack both unconventionally and in textbook fashion. Not many batsmen have this extra gear. For spectators, he is worth the admission price alone."

Waugh says that it is as important for bowlers to bowl in tandem as the batsmen in partnerships.

He cites the dismissal of Indian opener Wasim Jaffer Thursday as a classic piece of hunting as a unit by the Australian attack.

"Mitchell Johnson attacked Jaffer between the hip and chest, pushing the batsman back in his crease from one end before Brett Lee complemented his work perfectly by delivering an outswinging yorker that had an unsure batsman hovering behind the line. Jaffer's mind was muddled and consequently he was too late playing a shot."

Waugh says it was a clear sign the two quicks are getting to know each other's style and method of operation, and more of the same can be expected as they continue the great tradition of Aussie quicks attacking in collaboration.

Australia to Waugh appear to have all bases covered, but this team's extra potency emanates from being blessed with arguably four all-rounders in Adam Gilchrist, Andrew Symonds, Brad Hogg and Brett Lee.

"The great advantage in having players with multiple skills is they virtually become two players. It gives the team depth and extra options. India, on the other hand, has really only wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, which leaves the tourists struggling when the opposition begins to dominate. They have to fight tooth and nail to cling on during those periods."

Australia benefited enormously from its multi-skilled players in the first innings. It continued a trend of the past seven or eight years when the bottom half of the order has overachieved when compared to other nations.

Rarely does Australia get outplayed in the final session, says Waugh, and that can be directly attributed to fitness levels.

"The body and mind are aligned and when the limbs ache, the brain switches off under pressure.

Much of Australia's success has been built on a reservoir of off-season fitness and regular maintenance from a support group that provides massage, physiotherapy, dietary requirements and strength programmes. This allows the Aussies to finish every day off with energy and alertness that helps them surge when the opposition shows signs of wilting."