It is time to reward the best Indian test cricketer of the year 2010.
We started the year as the Number 1 test team in the world.
The challenge was to retain this position by the end of the year. India did not have enough test matches to play during the year as the calendar was loaded with ODIs and T20s. BCCI took some quick action and added tests to the itineraries of the traveling nations. Thus we played around 14 tests during the eventful year of 2010.
All the hopes of retaining the number 1 position was on the shoulders of Sachin, Sehwag, Dravid, Laxman, Dhoni and Harbhajan. Zak added the sting to the bowling lineup. There were some media + ex-player criticism that India cannot hold on to the position because they lacked the quality bowling line-up and also their batsman cannot play on foreign soil. But we eventually did manage to hold on. Thanks to some great batting.
Out of the 14 tests played during the year, we won 8 and lost 3. The remaining 3 ended in draw.
I quickly looked at the stats for these 14 tests. The top 3 run scorers is not a surprise. Sachin, Sehwag and Laxman.
Going by this, the gold medal goes to Sachin, silver to Sehwag and bronze to Laxman.
Let me dig down a bit. Check out the averages of these guys against the different nations they played.
Laxman stands out with a consistent 50+ average. Sehwag’s average against Aussies is pathetic. Sachin’s average against Aussies and Bangladesh is incredible but average against New Zealand is bad.
Going by this, gold goes to Laxman, silver to Sachin and bronze to Sehwag.
Lets dig further - Sit back and recollect some of the key moments of 2010….2010 was about close encounters and daring chases. India won these close encounters. And hence we are number one. 5 tests could have ended in a unhappy fashion for India. But one man saved us in all these.
Ahmedabad – India Vs NZ – India were virtually 90 for 6 in the 2nd innings…Laxman & Bhajji were in.
When Laxman departed, India had taken the match out of NZ control with India leading by around 250 runs…His patient 91 runs of 253 balls resulted in a draw avoiding humiliation. Bhajji scored 115.
Mohali – India vs Aus – India were 76/5 chasing 216…Laxman joined Tendulkar. Soon India were 124 for 8, loosing Sachin, Dhoni and Bhajji. Ishant joined Laxman. Laxman had a special knock and took India to victory by 1 wicket. In the first innings, Laxman had batted at number 10 because of a back injury. It’s now in history that we won the series 2-0.
Bangalore – India vs Aus – Tendulkar scored 214 and 53* & helped India cruise to an easy win…Pujara made a sensational 78* in the 4th innings.
Nagpur – India vs SA – India ended up losing by innings and 6 runs despite a Sachin’s 100 – Laxman was not playing
Kolkata – India vs SA - Laxman came back into the side in the 2nd match of the series. He scored 143 (Sachin scored 106 and Sehwag – 165)…India won by innings and 57 runs – drawing the series level at 1-1
Centurion – India vs SA – India lost to SA by innings and 25 runs…despite Tendulkar’s 50th test century…Lax scored a pathetic 15 runs in the test
Durban – India vs SA – India won by 80+ runs…both innings Lax topped the scoring lists…38 and 96…the 96 came with tail enders again. A loss here would be the worst humiliation for India after the bashing we suffered in Durban.
Colombo – India vs SL – Chasing 257 to level the series, India were 62 for 4 on a crumbling wicket. Sachin and Laxman managed the show scoring 54 and 103* to secure a win for India. Sehwag had scored a century in the first innings.
If the above close encounters were lost, India would have not been the number 1 side by year end. And one man held forte in most of these encounters….Laxman.
So it’s an easy conclusion that the gold medal goes to Laxman.
VVS Laxman is the test cricketer of 2010.
PS - Sachin fans will jump over me and argue that Sachin is the best...But guys deep down your heart, you also agree with me. In the bowling area, it was a team effort with no single bowler standing out.