04 July 2007

The Laxman-Yuvraj problem. Again!

Has Ganguly cemented his place in the Test squad? With a memorable display in the tour to South Africa, one would be inclined to think he would be given a few more chances. If that is the case, Jaffer, Kaarthick, Dravid, Tendulkar, Ganguly and Dhoni have confirmed spots in the batting line-up. Assuming that we play four bowlers, (probably Sreesanth, Zaheer, Ishant Sharma and Kumble), that leaves the spot open for one batsman. And once again, the choice is between Yuvraj Singh and VVS Laxman.
Yuvraj has made an emphatic case for his inclusion, grafting and exploding his way to a series defining performance. Laxman cannot be ignored easily either. Laxman's batting was crucial to the victory at Johannesburg. His batting in the tour to the West Indies would also be remembered more, were it not for the phenomenal efforts of Rahul Dravid. However, Laxman's subsequent failures in South Africa contributed to the series loss from a winning position.
Even if we ignore immediate performances, bith players have enough reason to feel wronged.
Laxman's ODI career was unceremoniously set aside: the rise of more athletic and powerful players like Yuvraj Singh was certainly a factor. Laxman has also been moved up and down the order whenever the interests of "team balance" dictated such a move. Equally, Yuvraj - despite being able to hold a place in the one-day squad consistently for the last seven years, has never been given too many chances to perform in the Test arena. Both started out as classy attacking batsmen, leaving fans drooling at their talent. The compulsions of international cricket have forced both to learn the art of staying at the wicket. In the one-day version of the game, Yuvraj is now seen as "one of the best finishers" of the game - someone who can accumulate, accelerate and change gears easily. Laxman's substantial innings over the past two years have been achieved through a fierce determination to stay at the wicket. The trademark audacious drives and flicks have been reined in substantially.
We are no closer to where we were at the beginning. How will Dravid n' Borde pick between these two without being unfair to one?