May 27 2020
Laxman underlines need for dignified conduct
21 December 2018


Making his point: V.V.S. Laxman says players at the highest level actually enjoy a bit of banter.   | Photo Credit: Bhagya Prakash K

Former India star says all international cricketers are seen as role models

The on-field behaviour of captains Virat Kohli and Tim Paine in the second India-Australia Test at Perth raised some eyebrows. Former India batsman V.V.S. Laxman says all international cricketers, captains or otherwise, should conduct themselves with dignity as they act as role models.

“Virat is naturally aggressive, right from his under-19 days. That is his personality. Having said that, it is important for international cricketers to realise that they are role models. The way you conduct yourself on the cricketfield influences youngsters who idolise you.


“This is a big responsibility that society has placed on cricketers, and they should never forget it,” Laxman, here to promote his book 281 And Beyond, told The Hindu on Thursday.

Laxman said his former teammates Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan were the very best when it came to riling the opposition.

“Harbhajan and Zaheer were the best at sledging. In the 2008 series against Australia, the team decided that Bhajji (Harbhajan) would go after Ricky Ponting, and Zak (Zaheer) would go after Matthew Hayden.

“Before the start of the series, captain Ponting had said Australia was the underdog. So every time Ponting came to the crease, Bhajji would tell him ‘You are the No. 1 team in the world, yet you say you are the underdog. What kind of Australian mindset is this?’.

“Zak would instigate Hayden by talking about sensitive things, both on the field and during team functions. To be frank, at the highest level, players like this sort of banter. Nobody wants to play a dull game. These characters make the game interesting,” Laxman said.

Learn from Sachin

Opener K.L. Rahul should take a leaf out of Sachin Tendulkar’s book, Laxman said, referring to Tendulkar’s epic 241 in Sydney in 2004, when he batted for over 10 hours without playing a single cover drive.

“Rahul is one of my favourite players — he is an unbelievable talent. But right now he is low on confidence, and he’s fighting a big mental battle. He can take inspiration from the way Sachin played at Sydney.

“Sachin knew it was the cover drive that had led to his cheap dismissals in previous matches, so he just shunned that shot. We’re not talking about avoiding the drive for the first 10 minutes or first 10 overs, but avoiding it right through his innings.

“Rahul should also introspect on what is leading to his downfall, identify the root cause, and make sure he avoids that mistake. It is easier said than done, as you need immense mental strength to pull it off,” Laxman added.



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