In an unexpected move, Indian cricketing legend VVS Laxman announced his retirement from international cricket yesterday, letting the curtains fall on his 16-year-old career
Hyderabad: In an unexpected turn of events, Indian cricketing legend, VVS Laxman announced his retirement from cricket with immediate effect, ending a 16-year-old long international career. This announcement was made at a press conference held at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium (RGICS) here on Saturday.
It was decision that most did not expect and those who saw it coming, hoped it was not true. His decision came as a surprise to one and all especially since the batsman was selected for the upcoming Test series against New Zealand beginning from August 23. (Hyderabad would be hosting the first of the two test matches). Though Laxman has retired from the international scene, he would continue to play for Hyderabad in this season’s Ranji Trophy.
While many speculated that the increasing criticism was the main cause for his retirement, Laxman claimed otherwise, saying that his “inner voice” was what prompted him to take this decision.
“I have always heard many sports personalities say that there will be a feeling, a thought, a voice which will tell you that it is time. I heard that voice within me and decided that my time was up,” Laxman said. “I announce my retirement with immediate effect.”
“While I would love contributing to the team especially in Engla-nd and Australia, I would like to ta-ke this opportunity to give a youngster a chance to play in home conditions before the upcoming overseas tours next year,” he added.
Laxman, who was accompanied by emotional family members to the venue, had said that it was a battle of thoughts over the last four-five days and that he had finalised his decision only on the morning of the announcement. He informed the selectors on Saturday morning. While Sachin Tendulkar had called on the cricketer, Indian skipper, Mahender Singh Dhoni proved to be a “busy man”.
The cricketer read out a statement in which he thanked one and all, especially his family members.
The father of two, gave India many moments to cherish– the best being his 281 against Australia in Kolkata, an innings which, with the help of teammate Rahul Dravid, saw them seal the game in India’s favour.Laxman has 17 Test centuries and six ODI hundreds to his credit. He was nicknamed Very Very Special Laxman and indeed so, as he was a gifted player for the team. His absence is a void which none can ever fill.
Laxman’s initial steps in the game
When VVS Laxman announced his retirement yesterday, the whole nation was left reeling. It was a truth which many did not see coming.The world class batsman who managed to trouble the otherwise confident Aussies, had left a void in the national side, a place which many doubt can ever be filled, and a thought which even Laxman’s coach, John Manoj, also voiced.
Every giant leap requires an initial step — a fact that each of us is clearly aware of. 25 years ago, in May 1987, a young lad named Laxman, was enrolled at the St John’s cricket academy in Marredpally, by his maternal uncle. He was a disciplined student who took the sport very seriously and was extremely focused. Not many would have expected him to reach the heights that eventually did. “Laxman was an extremely disciplined boy. He had all his energies focused on cricket. He was very sincere and use practice for long hours,” said Manoj.
A visit to the office room of the academy shows numerous photos of Laxman hanging alongside many other cricketing greats. “A striking trait of Laxman was his ‘two-minutes’ habit. Every time when we had to end the session, he would request saying ‘two more minutes’ of practice and this two more minutes used to be dragged on for not less than 15 minutes,” added his coach.
According to him, the coaches at the cricket academy spotted talent in the cricketer when he went on to score a century, in a tournament conducted in Vijayawada, in the year 1988. “Once, we had sorted out boys (according to their talent) and the sent them for a tournament in Vijayawada. Laxman scored his first hundred and we knew we had a rising star among us,” Manoj claimed.
The coach had only words of praise for the cricketing legend. “He was never a mischievous boy. He came, went about his work and then left. Never indulged in any kind of unwanted deeds,” said Manoj.
The coach, like many others was equally surprised with Laxman’s decision to call it quits. Though there was a hint that he was going to hang his boots soon, yet it was not completely expected. He did discuss the matter with me a couple of days ago. I was certainly surprised. I hoped he would not call it quits so soon but when he was firm about it, I knew he had made up his mind and nothing would change his decision,” rued Manoj. “The Indian team would be missing out on one of the most genuine cricketers the game has produced,” he added.
Just like the distraught coach, the nation also seems to have reacted in a similar fashion, but like they say, all good things have to come to an end, so did the 16 glorious years of Laxman’s international career have to see the curtains drop down.