Hyderabad: Stylish batsman V.V.S. Laxman ended all speculation about his career by announcing his retirement from international cricket on Saturday, barely a week after he was named in the squad for the two-Test series against New Zealand, starting here next week.
“I have decided to retire from international cricket with immediate effect,” Laxman said at a crowded news conference here.
It was being speculated that the genial Hyderabadi would announce his retirement after playing the first Test against the Black Caps at home or after the series.
“I feel it is the right time to move on. It is the right time to give the opportunity to youngsters. It was a tough decision to take. I have always listened to my inner conscience. I have always done that right through my career. There was a lot of debate in the last four days. But I don’t regret my decision,” said Laxman adding that it was a conscious decision.
“Till last night I was unable to make up my mind, but in the end I listened to my inner voice and arrived at my decision.”
The right-handed batsman, who was accompanied by his parents, wife and children, said he had conveyed his decision to the Indian cricket board president N. Srinivasan and the chairman of selectors K. Srikkanth Saturday morning — both reluctantly accepted his decision.
“It has been 16 long years since I made my international debut for India. I have always kept the country’s success and need ahead of my personal aspirations and hence while I would have loved to be contributing to the team’s success against England and Australia later in the season, I think it’s the right time to give opportunity to groom a youngster in home conditions before the tough tours overseas next year,” said the 37-year-old.
“I informed the chairman of selectors this morning that I would not continue playing for India. I also spoke to many of my teammates, they were surprised that I was retiring before the series. It was all very emotional.”
The wristy strokemaker represented India in 134 Tests, scoring 8781 runs at 45.97. He played one of the most memorable innings of 281 runs at Eden Gardens, Kolkata in 2001 against Australia setting up a stunning victory for India after following on, ending Australia’s consecutive 16-match winning streak.