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Good cricket can overcome this spot-fixing crisis: VVS Laxman

Last updated on: May 31, 2013 08:54 IST

'Good cricket can overcome this spot-fixing crisis'

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India's greatest match-winner VVS Laxman talks to Harish Kotian about the spot-fixing controversy and his role as mentor of Sunrisers Hyderabad.

VVS Laxman may have quit cricket last year, but it is proving hard for him to stay out of the game.

After retirement, the stylish Hyderabadi batting ace briefly did television commentary before taking up a new challenge in the Indian Premier League -- that of mentor of Sunrisers Hyderabad.

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During his playing days, he never got to grips with the Twenty20 format, and his few stints in the IPL were not particularly memorable. However, he made a good return to the cash-rich T20 spectacle in his role as mentor as his franchise exceeded all expectations to make it to the play-offs of IPL 6.

Still very passionate about the game, Laxman is visibly saddened by the spot-fixing saga that not only hit the IPL hard, but also Indian cricket. Declaring that a few greedy people have put the credibility of all cricketers at stake, he expressed hope of the investigators getting to the bottom of the scandal and cleaning up the game.

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Image: VVS Laxman
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

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'It is very important to get the game cleaned up'

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What was your first reaction when you heard of the recent spot-fixing controversy in the IPL?

The events of the last two weeks are very disappointing. Disappointing is an understatement; it fills me with a lot of anguish. The worst thing is that because of greed of certain people the creditability of all the cricketers is at stake.

I am sure the investigations undertaken by the BCCI and police will go to the root of the entire incident. It is very important to get the game cleaned up, because, ultimately, everyone, especially in our country, loves the game. So it is important to make sure that the guilty or accused are punished.

India was hit by a similar controversy in 1999-2000, but you guys, including Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble, helped overcome that crisis with some great performances on the field. Can Indian cricket make a similar comeback this time too?

It goes without saying that you are supposed to play good cricket. It was good that even when this incident happened, a lot of people came to the stadium to watch the IPL semi-finals and final and support cricket. Ultimately, cricket is a game which everyone is passionate about. You have to play good cricket and entertain the crowd. That is very important to overcome this spot-fixing crisis.

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Image: VVS Laxman
Photographs: Mark Nolan/Getty Images

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'It's been a real successful start for me as mentor'

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How was the experience of mentoring an IPL team? What exactly was your role?

It was a very good stint, very successful. It was the first time I had taken up this role of mentor. It's been a real successful start for me as mentor of the Sunrisers team. It was the first time after retirement that I had taken up such a responsibility. As a player I always thought it was my responsibility to share my experiences with the youngsters in the team and discuss with my colleagues situations in the game and come up with the right solutions.

This time I was designated as a mentor it was a great experience. The team we had, and the way they played, was amazing. The team environment was fabulous. The way the boys responded to various tough situations they were in was exceptional.

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Image: VVS Laxman (right) with Ishant Sharma
Photographs: BCCI
Tags: IPL

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'What Sunrisers really did was to play as a team'

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Sunrisers had a very young team; not many big stars were in the line-up. So were you happy that the team made it to the play-offs ahead of a few big teams?

We all expected the team to make the play-offs; and when I say we, I mean Tom Moody, the coach, and me and Krishnamachari Srikkanth, the mentors.

We all knew the team had the potential and the boys were capable of winning the IPL. That was our ultimate goal from the start of the tournament.

We retained 20 players from Deccan Chargers and brought in five-six players. We filled in the slots we felt were very important and were the missing links in the Deccan Chargers team, especially the all-rounders' slots where Thisara Perera and Darren Sammy performed brilliantly.

It was great to create a team environment. The IPL is such a tournament where players from different parts of the world come together and play in one team. Also, you play 16 matches in around five weeks; so it is very important to have good team bonding because only then can you actually play as a team.

What was the key to the team's successful run?

What Sunrisers really did, or exhibited, was to play as a team. In situations when you are defending a small total, like 120 or 130, it is the attitude and fighting spirit you exhibit as a team that helps you win close games. In a high-scoring game it is usually the brilliance of a batsman or that of a bowler that helps you win matches; but in small total games, it is the entire team that has to put in a fighting effort. That is what the Sunrisers did.

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Image: VVS Laxman (right) with Tom Moody (left) and Krish Srikkanth
Photographs: BCCI

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'The greed of being a cricketer will never end'

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You played for so many years alongside Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid in the Indian team. While you took up the role of mentor in the IPL, the aforesaid former India captains, who are older to you, were playing for different franchises. Watching them bat from the sidelines, was there the temptation to get back on the field?

The greed of being a cricketer will never end, because that is what you have done from your childhood. You are passionate about the game and that is why you picked cricket as a profession. It was more of a passion which turned into a profession. So, definitely, there will be the temptation to play when you see your colleagues do so.

But, consciously, I made a decision that I will not get tempted and make sure that I move on from the role of cricketer to retired cricketer.

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Image: VVS Laxman
Photographs: BCCI

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