Laxman said it was an honour to represent his country for 16 wonderful years
India batsman Vangipurappu Venkata Sai Laxman, or better known as VVS Laxman has announced his retirement from international cricket after a 16-year long career.
Laxman was supposed to be in India’s Test squad for the current series against New Zealand, but stated that he had made his decision a few days before.
Speaking to reporters in his hometown of Hyderabad, Laxman was extremely emotional as he stated that it was time for him to move on and allow younger players to have the chance to represent their country.
“I would like to announce my retirement from international cricket with immediate effect, 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 coming up next year,” Laxman said.
Laxman noted that the younger players should take advantage of an “inexperienced New Zealand bowling attack”.
The Indian batsman also admitted that the choice of retiring was not an easy one as well since he loved playing for his country.
“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,” Laxman said.
Laxman also mentioned that he had thought over the decision a countless number of times in the last couple of days.
“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 added.
During his retirement speech, Laxman thanked everyone who had helped him on his “journey” to becoming an international cricketer, and achieve his “dream”.
He added that he felt “blessed” to have the opportunity to represent India since it doesn’t happen to people very often.
Laxman revealed that his family had told him to play in the Test series against New Zealand, but his mind had already been made up, in what he called the “toughest three or four days of my career.”
“I have always read and listened to a lot of sportspersons who have excelled in their careers and they have all said that at the end of their career, there will suddenly be a feeling, a thought within you that a day has come that you have to leave the sport and move on. It is what I have experienced in the last four or five days… I feel really satisfied that I have left the game with the same ideals that I have played the game,” Laxman said.
When asked if his retirement had been spurred on by the criticism he received after performing poorly in two series against England and Australia, Laxman said: “Those comments have definitely not allowed (sic) me to make the decision.” The Australia series he said was, “very disappointing. No cricketer would want to lose in such a fashion.”
Laxman stated that he had never let such criticisms dampen his spirits.
“Right from the start of my career there have been a lot of people who wrote negative about me and there have been more people who have been well wishers and talked positive about me. In a country like India, where cricket is more like a religion than a sport, if you try to satisfy each and every one, it’s next to impossible,” he said.
During his 16-year career, Laxman represented India in 134 Tests and scored 8781 runs at an average of 45.97.
The Indian batsman made his debut against South Africa in 1996, but really started to turn heads in the cricketing community after scoring 167 against Australia at Sydney in 2000.
Laxman’s 281 against Australia at Eden Gardens is arguably his greatest career achievement as it was the highest Test score by an Indian batsman at that time.
Laxman last represented India in an ODI in 2006, but by then he was already a common face on the Indian Test roster, and in 2008, Laxman played in is 100th Test match against Australia at Nagpur.
In 2011, after his disappointing tours of England, where he averaged 22.75 with the bat, and Australia, where he averaged 19.38 with the bat, Laxman was dropped from the side in order to make way for younger talents to be groomed for future series.