The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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No surgery, only rest for Laxman

Calcutta, April 12: After being overlooked for the World Cup, V.V.S. Laxman vowed to make a one-day return sooner rather than later.

Indeed, but for a back problem — muscle spasms, specifically — that surfaced on the recent India A tour of the West Indies, Laxman would today have been in Dhaka. That, too, as (stand-in) vice-captain.

Now, Laxman must wait. Moreover, with the Dinesh Mongias getting another chance to justify captain Sourav Ganguly’s faith, it may be longer than acceptable.

“For now, that’s something I’ve got to accept… The doctors haven’t been able to put a finger on why the spasms occurred, but there’s no way I could have gone to Dhaka,” Laxman told The Telegraph, when contacted in (hometown) Hyderabad Saturday afternoon.

Laxman, however, clarified he hasn’t been advised surgery — something doing the rounds in the cricket fraternity.

“My stopover in London, on way home (from the West Indies), didn’t have anything to do with groundwork for a back surgery… I only consulted a highly recommended physio and, currently, I’m into the suggested exercises … Rest, not surgery, has been prescribed.”

Laxman added he wouldn’t have made that London appointment if Team India physio Andrew Leipus’ travel plans were known. As it turned out, Leipus was, after all, in India just days after the World Cup for the April 1 function at Amby Valley. It’s another matter he rushed back to Johannesburg following wife Sue’s mishap.

[Sue was with a family friend when their BMW was struck head-on by an “oldish vehicle” off Four Ways in South Africa’s premier city. The driver was drunk and, eventually, died. According to Leipus, the BMW’s air-bag “saved” his wife. Initially hospitalised, Sue is back home in Jo’Burg.]

Advised two-three weeks’ rest, Laxman should resume nets by the month-end. “I’ve got to be patient,” he remarked, acknowledging it’s “tough” reduced to watching Team India on the TV.

In the West Indies, of course, Laxman would be up at around 4.30 am to watch the India matches.

“Not being there was very disappointing, but the boys did so well… To the extent possible, I watched all the India games,” he pointed out.

While Laxman rues the latest twist in fate, he is happy at the break provided to Gautam Gambhir and Avishkar Salvi, who played under him in the West Indies.

“Both have the talent and determination to make a good impression at the international level,” he observed generously.

But, does the emergence of even more youngsters reduce his own chances of a (one-day) comeback'

“Don’t think so… Bottomline is that performance will count. If I deliver, irrespective of the level, I’ll be back with Team India,” was Laxman’s supremely confident riposte.

Clearly, he is not content with being a regular in only the Test XI. Laxman’s last ODI appearance (his 51st), by the way, was in Christchurch on New Year’s Day.

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