Michael Vaughan's tweet that perhaps VVS Laxman had applied Vaseline to his bat to escape being detected by the 'hotspot' technology confirms England's longlasting obsession with Vaseline. Why are the English cricketers so fond of Vaseline that they keep bringing it into all controversies? The Vaseline brand never got so much publicity anywhere else other than from the Brits. The most famous incident that introduced new uses for Vaseline was by John Lever who allegedly applied it to the ball on a tour to India. Now, after probably finding many other uses for the product, Vaseline makes a come back as the product to use to escape DRS. Many youngsters would now I am sure be inspired by Vaughan's inspirational comments.
As far as the incident is concerned, young Stuart Broad has not added in great measure to his fine performance in the Test, by his rather mischievous, subjective and insipid remarks on the issue. To say that he found no Vaseline or liquid on Laxman's bat, an insinuation that clearly says that the Indians can go to any lengths to beat the great English, is as good as one of the Indian players wondering how he suddenly made inroads into the Indian tail after looking rather flat till then! If the hotspot system could not detect a nick, why should we assume that the English players can detect those nicks? Are they better than the hotspot technology? And since only they could detect the nick, maybe they should offer their services as umpires, superiors beings at detecting nicks that they are?
But typical of them, they assume that the opposition always thinks like them. A classic case of 'If you spot it, you got it'. Wonder how many times, the English have used this to escape the 'hotspot' technology? But all in all, from Vaughan to Broad, the English have suddenly lost any support they have had from me, with such nonsense, such childish and irresponsible reactions.
VVS Laxman is a godfearing, upright, gentlemanly cricketer who always lets his bat do the talking. I have known him since he was a lad of 14, as a polite, soft and spiritual young man who if at all, seeks only the help of the Almighty in expressing his talent. He has in many ways, in many games already proven that his style of preparation to play cricket does not include application of Vaseline to the bat to escape nicks. It is my conviction that no one in the Indian team prepares to escape nicks being detected by the 'hotspot' system, least of all Laxman, whose bat would have got the least number of nicks anyway.
There are certain stages in life, in games, that desperate measures are used by desperate men to get under the skin of opponents. Unfortunately certain moves made in the wrong context, can serve to really rally a team that is until then struggling. Vaughan and Broad Co., has precisely done that with their rather ill timed comments. By accusing a clean cricketer like Laxman who is highly respected in the team, they have practically given the Indian team a strong case to get together. A common cause. The tipping point that will galvanise it. Remember what happened to Ponting's Aussies in Perth not so long ago? At Calcutta? And in so many other games in the past - Indians play more on pride and it is dangerous to tread that area.
My prediction now is that the English will lose this series. I was not too sure yesterday at stumps but now I am convinced. The hundred that eluded Laxman will come in this series, the second innings perhaps, and it will be a big one. It would also spur some more performances by the others. At full capacity, England is no match for India, they know that. Having started this scheme, it is time for the English to really find some other uses for Vaseline, a technology they seem to know best about, to escape from this sticky situation. As for Broad and Vaughan, you have just proved what brand of the game you play.