Very Very Sorry Laxman
We all know that Laxman can bat at No.3 and score run-a-ball hundreds and we all do know that for some reason that isn't really enough for the selectors to put him in the ODI side. He should have used this tournament to try and do something new - do something outside of his comfort zone - like pressing on the accelerator in the middle overs. He should have stepped on the accelerator after completing his fifty instead of taking it easy and reaching his 100 without any risks. I know am being unfair, but if you look at it from the selectors' point of view, he hasn't offered anything new. He still has to bat at at the top (preferably No.3), he still needs 100+ balls to reach his hundred, he still can't improvise and accelerate at the end and he still is the No.1 candidate to be swapped with a super-sub in the middle of the match if India is bowling second. After top-scoring for his side in both the games, he would feel really disappointed if he doesn't feature in the squad for the Sri Lankan series. He has done better in this tournament than some of illustrious colleagues from the senior side, but is it really good enough?
This is what I wrote about Laxman's chances after he had scored a century for India A against India B in the Challenger Series. But with both Ganguly and Kaif not being in the scheme of things, I would have picked Laxman over Gambhir. It is not that he is out of form. It is not that he is too old - he is younger than Sachin, Saurav, Rahul, Anil and Yadav. It is not that he is the worst of all fielders - now who can be worse than Saurav. It is not that he is arrogant and is a bad influence in the dressing room - well atleast no emails have been sent out about him. Then why?
Chappell did mention in his (now very much public) email that he did not see a place for Laxman in the ODI setup and that he had spoken about it to Laxman after the SriLankan tour. The selectors too seem to feel the same about him. But I'm really not sure about this idea of completely shutting down a player's chances in one form of the game for good. Things have changed in the Indian dressing room since Laxman last played for India in the one-dayers and the selectors should take a note of it. Saurav and Kaif are absent, Rao and Raina have not exactly done wonders in the limited opportunities that have come their way, Sachin is just returning back to serious cricket and Viru is not in the best of ODI form. The team needs some honest triers and Laxman should have been given another opportunity to prove his critics wrong.
Related article : Vijay Lokapally has a piece in The Hindu on why Laxman's omission defies all logic.