V.V.S. Laxman has announced his retirement from international cricket with immediate effect, ahead of the home Test series against New Zealand starting August 23 in his hometown Hyderabad.
“I would like to announce my retirement from international cricket with immediate effect,” Laxman said. “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 time to give the youngsters a chance in home conditions ahead of international assignments.
“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. I felt this is the right time to move on.”
“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 to retire. I informed the chairman of selectors (Krishnamachari Srikkanth) this morning that I would not continue playing for India. I also spoke to many of my team-mates, they were surprised that I was retiring before the series. It was all very emotional.”
Laxman made his debut against South Africa in the home series in 1996 but he first made the headlines with an innings of 167 against Australia in Sydney in 2000. His epic knock of 281 at Eden Gardens in Kolkata in 2001, against Australia, remains the highlight of his career and was then the highest score by an Indian batsman in Tests. Laxman was a prolific scorer against Australia and scored 2434 runs against them at an average of 49.67.
Laxman last played an ODI in 2006 and played his 100th Test in 2008, against Australia in Nagpur.
Laxman, till date, has played 134 Tests, accounting for 8,781 runs at an average of 45.97 while notching up 17 hundreds. The Hyderabadi was one of the safest fielders in the close in and also has pouched 135 Test catches.
He also is one of the few batsmen who has batted in all positions barring No.9 and 11. Known for his timing and wristy stroke play, the Hyderabadi artist was the back bone of the Indian middle order along with the likes of Rahul Dravid, Saching Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly. With Dravid, Ganguly gone and now Laxman retiring, the new Indian middle order, consisting of the Kohlis and Pujaras will have big shoes to fill in the coming future.