The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Laxman willing to wait four more years

Wellington: Insisting that he was a capable batsman in both forms of the game, V.V.S. Laxman said on Sunday that he was willing to wait for another four years to get a chance to play in cricket’s biggest event — the World Cup.

Laxman is the only player of the current team besides uncapped Rakesh Patel to be dropped from the 15-member Indian squad for the upcoming tournament in southern Africa.

But the stylish Hyderabadi said he was hopeful of making a comeback despite being disappointed.

“I was a standby in 1999 and this time I am out of it altogether,” he said. “But I know I have it in me to succeed in one-day cricket.”

Laxman was face-to-face with this grave moment of his career in the closing hours of last year when he learnt Punjab’s Dinesh Mongia had replaced him in the squad for the mega event.

Suddenly, his epoch-making 281 against Australia at Eden Gardens early last year and the honour of playing the fifth best innings of all times, seemed a distant memory.

Laxman’s best has always been reserved for his team’s bleakest moments. His 167 against Australia at Sydney in 2000 when all seemed lost; the epic 281 against the same team which turned what could have been an innings defeat into a miraculous victory; centuries against the West Indies at Antigua and the Eden. Laxman has often been India’s last defence against odds.

“There is little doubt I am extremely disappointed, even shocked,” Laxman said. “I was working towards the World Cup and hoping I could contribute towards the team’s success,” he said.

Laxman refuted suggestions he is not quick between the wickets and his fielding is a liability in the one-day arena — deficiencies, which could have cost him his World Cup berth.

“There was only one misjudgement between me and Rahul (Dravid) in Ahmedabad last year, otherwise my running between the wickets has been good. It is one area where I have worked really hard. It’s definitely improved and the results were beginning to show.

“My fielding has improved too. I am not below par I have not the slightest of doubt,” said Laxman. “Adrian (Le Roux, the trainer) has helped me a great deal whenever there are no games. I’ve been working on it as I am doing with other aspects of my game.”

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