Laxman underlines need for dignified conduct from cricketers

Talking about India's ongoing tour of Australia, V.V.S Laxman said that K.L. Rahul should identify the root cause of his struggles and avoid making the same mistakes.

Harbhajan and Zaheer were the best when it came to riling up the opposition, according to V.V.S Laxman.   -  Bhagya Prakash K

The on-field behaviour of captains Virat Kohli and Tim Paine in the second India-Australia Test at Perth raised some eyebrows. Former India middle-order batsman V.V.S. Laxman believes that all international cricketers, captains or otherwise, should conduct themselves with dignity as they act as role models.

“Virat is naturally aggressive, right from his under-19 days. That is his personality. Having said that, it is important for international cricketers to realise that they are role models. The way you conduct yourself on the cricket field influences youngsters who idolise you. This is a big responsibility that society has placed on cricketers, and they should never forget it," Laxman, here to promote his book ‘281 And Beyond’, told Sportstar on Thursday.

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Laxman added that his former teammates Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan were the very best when it came to riling up the opposition.

“Harbhajan and Zaheer were the best at sledging. In the 2008 series against Australia, the team decided that Bhajji (Harbhajan) would go after Ricky Ponting, and Zak (Zaheer) would go after Matthew Hayden," Laxman said.

"Before the start of the series, captain Ponting had said that Australia was the underdog. So every time Ponting came to crease, Bhajji (Harbhajan) would tell him – ‘You are the No.1 team in the world, yet you say that you are the underdog. What kind of Australian mindset is this?’.

"Zak would instigate Hayden by talking about sensitive things, both on the field and during team functions. To be frank, at the highest level, players like this sort of banter. Nobody wants to play a dull game. It is these sorts of characters who make the game interesting.”

Laxman stated that struggling opening batsman K.L. Rahul should take a leaf out of Sachin Tendulkar’s book. Laxman was referring to Tendulkar’s epic 241 in Sydney in 2004, when he batted for over 10 hours without playing a single cover drive.

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“Rahul is one of my favourite players – he is an unbelievable talent. But right now he is low on confidence, and he’s fighting a big mental battle. He can take inspiration from the way Sachin played at Sydney. Sachin knew that it was the cover drive that had led to his cheap dismissals in previous matches, so he just shunned that shot.

"We’re not talking about avoiding the drive for the first 10 minutes or first 10 overs, but avoiding it right through his innings. Rahul should also introspect on what is leading to his downfall, identify the root cause, and then make sure that he avoids making that mistake again. It is easier said than done, as you need immense mental strength to pull it off,” Laxman said.

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