When Laxman took a taxi to Jo'burg

V.V.S. Laxman launched his autobiography '281 And Beyond’ amid a fun-filled interaction with former team-mates in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Virender Sehwag (centre) and Gautam Gambhir (right) at the Delhi launch of V. V. S. Laxman's autobiography, 281 and Beyond.   -  The Hindu

V. V. S. Laxman must win the “most lovable” individual in Indian cricket award by miles. Going by the warmth that the event – promotion of '281 And Beyond' – generated here on Tuesday, it was clear that his Fan Club had its roots in the dressing room itself.

Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, Ashish Nehra, Murali Kartik and Gautam Gambhir were among those who raved about their former team-mate, not just for his cricket, but his unassuming nature in the most distressing times for Indian cricket.

The autobiography, published by Westland and co-authored by noted cricket writer R. Kaushik, documents Laxman’s journey, from the time he knew it was a hard task. “To play for the country within five years or else return to become a doctor (like his parents),” as Laxman recalled.

The evening was laced with some hilarious little-known anecdotes, like the time he had to take a taxi to the ground in Johannesburg. “I was the overnight batsman and struggled to first make it to the ground and then try and convince the man at the gate to let me in. He won’t believe me,” said Laxman as the hall burst into laughter.

For Kartik and Gambhir, the genial Laxman was an epitome of kindness and humility. “He won’t hurt a fly,” is the well-known refrain about this stylish Hyderabad strokeplayer. “You won’t find one person on this planet who would have a bad word to say about Laxman,” said Kartik.

Sehwag found him the most “attractive batsman” to watch, someone who made batting look so easy. Nehra also paid compliments with a partner who took great pains to teach the bowlers how to bat. “He was the unofficial batting coach of the lower half of the team,” remembered Nehra.

Laxman was overwhelmed with the response from the cricket fraternity of the Capital as the event was attended by Abbas Ali Baig, Madan Lal, Sunil Valson, Ajay Jadeja, Vijay Dahiya, Nikhil Chopra and Rajdeep Sardesai among others.