India in Australia 2011-12 January 17, 2012

Laxman has right to decide when to go - Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir has come out in support of the under-pressure VVS Laxman, saying nobody has the right to decide when he should retire. There have been reports coming out of India, quoting BCCI officials, which say Laxman is going to retire soon. One report even said that Laxman might have played his last Test in Perth. Adding to that is criticism from former players, who feel the team is aged and urgently needs the infusion of fresh youngsters.

Gambhir said it was not fair for anyone other than the player himself to talk of retirement, or for people to criticise just one man. "Look, my question is, why criticise one person? He has been a legend of the game. It's not only, VVS Laxman but all of us [who have underperformed]. The top six, the top seven should be criticised equally. We have all failed as a unit. So why only VVS Laxman?

"He has been a legend of the game. He has served Indian cricket for a long, long time. There should not be anyone [else] who should be deciding about his retirement. It should be him. Whenever he wants to take it, he should take it. Rather than criticising just one person, you should be criticising all seven batsmen who have failed as a unit. The entire team is behind him [Laxman], and I have always believed you should not criticise only one or two people. If you are to criticise, criticise all seven batsmen who have not performed well and let the team down.

"No one should decide when people should retire, it should be the individual's decision. And it would always be an individual's decision. Whether it be the media or people back home or whether it's ex-cricketers, I think no one has any right to force anyone to take retirement. It should be his personal decision. He has served Indian cricket for a very long time, and he is still working very hard, as people have seen in the nets. I have said it's just a matter of one innings. With one good innings he will be confident again."

Whether Laxman is going to retire anytime soon or not is not clear, but the indications here are that Laxman will play the Adelaide Test. India had a full training session at the WACA ground, and Laxman batted for a long time. Duncan Fletcher, the coach, spent most of his time working with Laxman, especially when Trevor Penny, the fielding coach, gave him throwdowns.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo