VVS Laxman, one of the key members of Fantastic Four of Indian Cricket announced on Saturday that he would be retiring from international cricket with immediate effect. Laxman was also picked for the forthcoming India-New Zealand two-Test series but the stylish Hyderabadi stunned the cricket fraternity by calling it quits with immediate effect.
VVS Laxman’s decision to retire with immediate effect didn’t just surprise the cricketing fraternity but also shocked his better half Sailaja, who was left wondering how the veteran would do without his “first wife”. “I was taken aback (when Laxman first conveyed his decision) because his aim was to beat Australia and England in India. So, we were expecting him to play till Australia series. It was quite a surprise,” a teary-eyed Sailaja said at the press conference in which Laxman decided call it quits from international cricket yesterday.
“But, he listened to his inner consciousness. That’s what matters more,” she added.
“It’s been 16 years since I have made my international debut for India and I think it is the right time to move on,” said an emotional Laxman after announcing his retirement in Hyderabad.
“As a youngster it was dream to represent India and it took lot of pride to wear India cap. Now I would like to give youngsters an opportunity to prove themselves,” said Laxman. “I am grateful to almighty for blessing me to live my dream of playing cricket”
“I have always felt that I have got the opportunity to serve my country and have played the best cricket not only in India but overseas as well. I think it is time to give youngsters a chance at home ahead of a tough season. I have always kept the country’s success ahead of personal aspirations.”
“I communicated my decision to BCCI earlier in the day that I am not going to continue playing cricket and would hang my boots with immediate effect,” Laxman said while answering to media persons.
“It was emotional during the past 4-5 hours while talking to my colleagues with whom I’ve shared the dressing room. I have not been able to get in touch with ‘MS’ as he is very hard to reach,” said Laxman.
“Any innings that saves a match is very special. There are a lot of innings and matches that are very close to me and I will cherish all of them. Durban 2010 (96 vs. SA) was one of those knocks that I would cherish. Winning that match in the fashion that we did will be very memorable to me.”
“I will be very satisfied with the decision that I have taken and I will never regret this decision. Even in my exit, I will be following and living my ideals, which would be to keep the country before my personal needs,” Laxman added.
“It was my privilege to play with the some of the legends of the game like Sachin, Rahul, Kumble, Sehwag, Saurav and a lot of other players as well. All of them inspired me because everyone had one single goal – to do well for country and to work for the progress of Indian cricket. They were all role models for me.”
Through his career, Laxman went on to live up to his nickname – ‘Very Very Special’ – as he became part of the famous batting quartet also comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid which ruled Indian cricket for more than a decade.
Since then Laxman has gone on to get 16 more hundreds while notching up a total of 56 half-centuries, with his highest being the monumental 281 against Australia in Kolkata which destroyed Australian captain Steve Waugh’s dream of conquering the ‘Final Frontier’.
Laxman has since been a thorn in Australia’s flesh more than once. Barring the last series Down Under when he could manage only 155 in eight innings, Laxman has time and again taken on the Aussie challenge and come on top. He has 2434 runs against them at an average of 49.67. His splendid form against the reigning Test team was one of the reasons for India’s ascendancy to the top spot in Test cricket.
Laxman has played 134 Tests, amassing 8,781 runs at an average of 45.97 and hitting 17 hundreds. The Hyderabadi has always had a pair of safe hands and has pouched 135 Test catches too.