Aug 18, 2012

VVS Laxman announced his retirement from international cricket

VVS Laxman with wife and children before a press conference to announce his retirement from international cricket at the Rajiv Gandhi International cricket stadium in Hyderabad on Saturday.

VVS Laxman brings curtains down on career V.V.S. Laxman, who won many a match for India with his wristy elegance including an epic 281 against Australia in Kolkata, on Saturday announced his retirement from international cricket with immediate effect, bringing down the curtains on a glorious career spanning 16 years. The 37-year-old Laxman, one of the finest batsmen in contemporary cricket, said that he felt it was the right time to bid adieu to the game which he played with “great pride for the country”. 

 “I would like to announce my retirement from international cricket with immediate effect. I think it’s right time to move on”, an emotional Laxman told a press conference in Hyderabad. Laxman, who was picked in the Indian squad for the two-match Test series against New Zealand beginning here from August 23, surprisingly chose to hang his boots with immediate effect without taking the opportunity to bow out of international cricket in front of his home crowd. “It was a tough decision to take, I have always listened to my inner conscience. The inner voice is a divine voice, I have always done that right through my career. There was a lot of debate in the last four days. I felt this is the right time to move on”, he said. Laxman, who earned the sobriquet ‘Very Very Special’ for his style and flair, played 134 Tests, amassing 8,781 runs at an average of 45.97. He scored 17 hundreds and 56 half centuries in the longer format of the game. Laxman, who was not a regular in India’s ODI team, played 86 matches for an aggregate of 2338 at an average of 30.76. Unfortunately for him, he could never be a part of India’s World Cup campaigns which remains one of his biggest regrets. “I have always kept my country’s success and need ahead of my personal aspirations. And while I would love contributing to the team’s success, especially against England and Australia, I think this is the right to give opportunity to the youngsters in home conditions ahead of international assignments”, he said. Laxman, however, made it clear that he will continue to play for Hyderabad till this year. “It was a dream for me to play for India since childhood and I am extremely thankful to the Almighty for giving me the opportunity to serve my country.” 

 “I always felt that through cricket I got an opportunity to serve my country. I was fortunate to play in an era when India played some of its best cricket, home as well as away.” “I would like to thank everyone who guided me and encouraged me through my career.” Laxman will always be remembered for the magnificent 281 he scored against Australia at the Eden Gardens in March 2001 -- an innings which didn’t just change the face of the match but also turned the entire series on its head. That knock was ranked sixth in Wisden’s list of 100 great Test innings in the history of the game. It was just one of the several match-winning knocks that the unassuming batsman played against the mighty Aussies at their peak. “When I remember that knock, I feel how lucky I was to be part of history. How we changed the result of that match. It is always emotional when I think of that knock”, he said. Asked whether he had taken a hasty decision for which he will regret later, he said “I never regret the decisions I take, because my conscience is clear. I got the privilege to serve the country. I am satisfied with the decision, definitely I will never regret that I took the decision“. “I always tried to my best to give everything to the team while mantaining my dignity. There were times I am sure I did not perform well, I disappointed them but I can assure that it was not due to lack of effort,” he said. “I conclude in all humility by praying to the Almighty to take and bless Indian cricket to the highest level in the world in all forms of the game.” “It has been an emotional, fabulous and memorable journey which I will definitely cherish for the rest of my life.” Laxman said. “I was very unfortunate to play with the collegues who played with a lot of pride, and most of them went on to become legends of the game. The affection, bonding and friendship they shared with me will always be cherished all my life,” Laxman said. Laxman said he has not decided what he will do post post retirement.

 “My immediate and most important goal would be to share my experiences with the Hyderabad cricketers and if I can do what my seniors did when I was playing for Hyderabad earlier on in my career then I would be very happy.” “I learnt a lot from my seniors while I was growing up and if I can share some of my experiences, if I can help some these youngsters realise their potential I would be very happy.” “We took a lot of pride in the way we played for the country and we all had one single goal and one single ambition of that is to win matches consistently for the country, not only in India but also overseas and those efforts have been culminated into us being the no.1 Test playing nation of the world and I am sure the future players of Indian cricket will take our legacy forward.” The Hyderabad-stylist had come under scrutiny following his failure in the Test series against England and Australia last year.

 Against England he scored just 182 runs for an average of 22.75 and was even worse against Australia, scoring 155 in eight innings at just 19.37 in the eight successive lost Tests that were played against the two sides. “There have been people who have criticised me but my set of well wishers have been more. I can tell you that it is not easy to please each and every person. Failure and success are part and parcel of a cricketer’s life”, he explained.