15 Facts about Laxman Sivaramakrishnan - The Unjustified Talent

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Laxman Sivaramakrishnan
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Laxman Sivaramakrishnan did not live up to the great potential he showed during his teenage year. Sivaramakrishnan’s career is about a premature rise and sharp decline. Longevity adds credibility to a talent but he very unlucky to have got sparse opportunities in his short Test career spanning just around three years. The skinny leg spinner, unfortunately, found a name for himself in the list of the unlucky cricketer who could not play for their country very long despite being immensely talented. He was a child prodigy who had mastered the difficult art of leg spin at a very early age. A prodigious turner of the ball, he would have been an asset in any team in the 80’s when fast bowlers ruled the roost.

1. Born on:

Laxman Sivaramakrishnan was born on 31 December, 1965 in Madras (now Chennai).

2. Nickname:

He is popularly known as Siva and LS.

3. Early life and education:

Siva did his schooling at Vidya Mandir, Chennai. It was while representing this school he first drew attention as a 12-year-old claiming 7 for 2 in a Madras inter-schools championship game.

4. After retirement:

He chose commentary following his retirement from the game. Presently he is one of the players’ representatives on the International Cricket Council’s cricket committee

5. Prodigious talent:

At fifteen, Siva was the youngest member of the Under-19 India squad that toured Sri Lanka under Ravi Shastri in 1980. And, later went on a tour with the U-22 team to Sri Lanka and England.

6. Domestic career:

Siva started his first-class career at the age of 16 and made an immediate impression. On his debut against Delhi in the quarter-final of the 1981/82 Ranji Trophy, he took 7 for 28 in the second inning in the spell of just eleven overs.

7. National call:

He was immediately noticed after just playing three Test matches and was picked for the team to tour Pakistan in 1982/83 and later to the West Indies. Siva did not get to play in any of the Tests as India already had Dilip Doshi and Ravi Shastri. However, he gained experience as he played all tour games bowled against the likes of Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad and Wasim Raja.

8. Test debut:

Laxman Sivaramakrishnan finally made his Test debut at St. John’s against West Indies during the 1983 tour at the age of 17 years and 118 days. He was the youngest Indian Test cricketer till that point of time.

9. Dropped from the side:

He was not picked for the next few tours. He was also overlooked for the 1983 World Cup in England.

10. First full series as a Test cricketer:

Siva played in a full series in 1984-85 when England toured India under David Gower. He ended up with 23 wickets and was named Man of the Series. His 6 for 64 and 6 for 117 helped India to an eight-wicket win in the first Test at Bombay. It was India’s first win in a Test match since 1981.

11. End of Test career:

The next season saw a sudden drop of form. He played a Test in Sri Lanka and two in Australia in 1985/86 season with little success. This was the end of his Test career.

12. Glory in the Benson & Hedges World Championship:

It was a time when spinners, especially leg-spinners were considered a luxury in the team. But, at that time, there was a lot of media speculation about how effective a spinner that too an attacking bowler would be in a limited overs situation. However, Sunil Gavaskar, who led India in Australia, backed him with confidence. Siva had a successful tournament and ended as the top wicket-taker.

13. Comeback to the side:

Siva made an unexpected comeback to the 1987 World Cup team and played in two matches. The only wicket that he took was that of Zimbabwean John Traicos, caught at midwicket by Gavaskar off a full toss.

14. Back to domestic cricket:

He converted himself into a batsman and continued to play first-class cricket on and off for another ten years. He contributed three centuries when Tamil Nadu won the Ranji Trophy in 1987/88. In his last Ranji season, he played for Baroda.

15. Longest surname:

With Hugh Bromley-Davenport, Sivaramakrishnan shares the record for the longest ‘supposed’ surname among Test cricketers. However, Sivaramakrishnan is not his surname at all. He started out as L. Sivaramakrishnan which is typical with expanding initialed South Indian names. Turning the Laxman as L caused Sivaramakrishnan to appear as his surname. Sivaramakrishnan is his given name and his father’s given name is Laxman and hence he started out as L. Sivaramakrishnan as is common with Tamils to keep the first letter of one’s father’s first name as initial.

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