Cricketer And A Gentleman

Cricketer And A Gentleman
S.B. VIJAYA MARY

It’s hard to fathom what was on Puttaparthi Sathya Sai Baba’s mind when V.V.S. Laxman beseeched him to name his daughter. ‘Achintya’ was Sathya Sai Baba’s prompt reply, and in that one word lies Laxman’s meaning of life: no worries. That is quintessentially Laxman – as nice as they come; a gentleman who never lost out on life, its values and traditions.

With both parents accomplished doctors, it was but logical for young Laxman to have followed in their footsteps. “That was the toughest conflict of my life, to choose between cricket and a course in medicine. My maternal uncle, Baba Krishna Mohan, who’s also my mentor, realised my potential as a cricketer and convinced my parents. And, my father’s belief that one should excel in the profession one chooses made it easier for me to take a decision,” says Laxman

Decisions, decisions
There were naysayers aplenty. “My father’s friends couldn’t understand my decision. They always used to ask my father as to how he could allow me to choose cricket over studies. Most of my friends, who were as talented as me, if not better, were pushed into medical schools, whereas my parents gave me that freedom to choose. Their confidence is my motivation to excel, says Laxman, of 105 test matches vintage.His wife Shailaja is his support system now. She had to make a lot of changes after marrying me. I always felt that the cricketing world is an artificial one. . If you get used to that kind of lifestyle, your life changes. That said, being the wife of a cricketer is never easy. She lives out of suitcases, and with the kids now, it’s tougher,” he says.

So, does he have his craziest fan or his worst critic at home? “She never followed cricket and doesn’t follow even now, which is okay with me because I don’t go home to talk cricket,” he says. “Or, maybe she follows my performance but gives me an impression that she’s not really interested so that I’m comfortable, which is great. I’m fortunate to have her in my life.”

The apple of his eye
And the apple of his eye? Laxman’s son Sarvajit will turn three in two months and Achintya is all of 10 months.

His hopes for his children? “I think all parents should realise that every child can’t be playing for the country. But having said that, I would definitely want my son and daughter to play sports. I believe that sport plays an equally important role as education. One of my long-term plans is to start an academy,” says Laxman.

Talking about the game, he says: “I enjoy batting but was never a natural athlete. But, trainer Ramesh raised my fitness levels. I just follow the fitness schedule he gives me in full faith,” he smiles.

Laxman’s equanimity endears him to all. Very, Very Special is what they call him as against Vangipurappu Venkat Sai.

“I guess the Australians started it after the wonderful outing I had at their expense in the 2001 series. I’m not sure, but I think it was Steve Waugh who started it and it stuck to me,” he laughs

The Hindu Reference

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