It's ten years today for India's greatest comeback Test win against Australia in Kolkata. VVS Laxman, who scored an epic 281, talks to MiD-DAY...
As Indian cricket lovers wonder whether Mahendra Singh Dhoni's team is capable of emulating Kapil Dev's 1983 World Cup devils, writing off this team could prove dangerous, if not foolhardy.
Laxman acknowledges the cheers for his double ton in Kolkata. PIC/AFP
For, there is a layer of steel that this side has which shows up from time to time.
It could well be that the layer started growing from the time India beat Australia despite following on in the Kolkata Test of 2001. One of the architects of that win, VVS Laxman, who scored 281, talks to MiD DAY about his epic knock and the win which was achieved 10 years to the date. Harbhajan Singh (13 wkts including a hat-trick) and Rahul Dravid (180) were heroes too.
Critics call this the greatest comeback in Test cricket. Do you agree?
Definitely. For us and probably for the cricketers of this generation, this was the best Test match we were involved in. The belief in ourselves increased so much.
We overcame tough situations because of this Test match that took our confidence to another level. The Kolkata experience helped us believe that irrespective of the situation we are in, we can win matches.
Do you think the Test kicked off a period in which a lot of tough players emerged for India?
Not the start of it, but it was a trigger to take our game to the next level. We started to travel abroad with a better mindset than before and win.
Did this win drive home that the point that nothing is impossible in cricket?
The mindset of giving up changed. Till the last wicket was taken or the last run scored, we always fought hard. The Test match will be remembered for this.
Your take on Rahul Dravid's 180...
It was one of the most important knocks Rahul has played for the country. He was down with viral fever before the start of the Test. To come into a match in that physical state, and play such an important knock in a pressure situation only shows how mentally tough Rahul is.
Any particular shot during the 281 you will never forget?
The inside-out shot I hit off Shane Warne through the covers in the post lunch session of Day Four was very special because he was bowling round the wicket into the rough. We all know Warne's quality, so to play that kind of a shot gave me heaps of satisfaction.
Have you kept a souvenir from that Test?
I still have the bat with which I played that Test match. I treasure all the bats which I've used to play important knocks.