India news August 17, 2012

Laxman likely to announce retirement on Saturday


VVS Laxman, one of the go-to men of Indian cricket in the last decade and among the most stylish batsmen in recent memory, is likely to bring the curtain down on his international career. He expected to make an announcement in the next 24 hours.

Laxman has told his family and close circle of friends, including his long-time coach, that he was "contemplating" retirement after the two-Test series against New Zealand, which starts in his hometown Hyderabad on August 23.

"He said he was contemplating [it]," one of the Hyderabad Cricket Association officials, who spoke to Laxman, told ESPNcricinfo. Laxman admitted as much in this brief quote to The Hindu earlier today: "A final decision will be taken about the exact details of my plans by this [Friday] evening."

Definitive word was still to come, but it is understood that Laxman was pondering the right moment to exit: whether to retire after the first Test in Hyderabad or to leave it till the end New Zealand series, after the second Test in Bangalore.

The decision may come as a surprise to Laxman fans, because it was only last week the national selectors had picked him for the home series against New Zealand. But according to the official, Laxman had confided that though he was feeling match fit, he was getting affected by the increasing pile of critical remarks against his presence in the side. "He wanted to make sure that no one should feel that youngsters were being deprived of a chance because of him. He said he wanted to go on a high and not hear or read people saying he should go," the official said.

After his former team-mate, captain and friend, Rahul Dravid, retired from international cricket this March, the focus had shifted towards Laxman, who had endured two atrocious summers in different parts of the world - first in England in 2011 followed by another dismal outing in Australia, accumulating a sum of 337 runs in eight Test matches. Though Laxman had scored an unbeaten 176 in Kolkata during the home Test series against West Indies last October, concerns about his future remained strong.

Even as the pressure mounted on him from the outside, with commentators like Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and Sanjay Manjrekar, to name a few, labeling the selection of Laxman as a backward step, Laxman continued to focus on his game, with lengthy indoor sessions at the NCA in Bangalore after returning from Australia.

Incidentally Laxman made two centuries in a couple of competitive matches he played earlier this month: a 135 for Marredpally Colts Cricket Club in the Hyderabad league cricket in first week of August was followed by a stroke-filled 169 against Karnataka the following week in Mysore, in the Safi Darashah Trophy organised by the Karnataka StateCricket Association. "He was practising really hard and was very positive before the season started," John Manoj, who has coached Laxman from the age of 11 at St John's Cricket Academy in Secunderabad, said.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on August 20, 2012, 6:51 GMT

    @ rustyryan you are right... he never made any impact being in Indian Team and was accepted as Gavaskar's replacement. He was an absolute cropper like Mr. Rohit Sharma. Empty vessels makes noise and he is a clear example of that.

  • Joe on August 19, 2012, 11:15 GMT

    @ovzdatta151 - Thankyou for agreeing after all, it was us English that thrashed the Indian team 4-0 last year and are ranked higher than you in all formats even though Cricket is not our most popular sport plus have a tiny tiny population compared to India. Great respect man! -_-

  • Dummy4 on August 19, 2012, 3:46 GMT

    End of another pillar of Indian golden batting generation . Now, it is the time of Sachin .

  • Andrew on August 18, 2012, 22:10 GMT

    I think Indian fans missed out on what could of been the best ODI openening partner ship ever (VVS & SRT). I think that would be better than any other Indian combo!

  • ABHIJIT on August 18, 2012, 20:13 GMT

    @EnglishCricket : We ordinary side still too good for your extraordinary team..

  • ABHIJIT on August 18, 2012, 13:53 GMT

    @ Sonya Jones: :).. well don;t worry we will have our last laugh.. as we did in 2011 WC QF..

  • Prashan on August 18, 2012, 12:47 GMT

    @mathewjohn2176, Sri Lanka will get a thrashing as always?? How did Angelo Mathews feature in the world record 9th wicket stand against Aussies in Australia? Can you answer that? "Thrashing always" means losing all games non stop, which never happened in Sri Lanka's history as a test playing nation. We have Angelo Perera, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dimuth Karunaratne, Nuwan Pradeep, Roshan Jayatissa, Dinesh Chandimal, Thisara Perera to excel when Mahela and Sanga retire. I believe you are an Aussie but well remember Australia could not win a single ODI in England this year but we managed to win 2 ODIs in England last time we toured there. I will hope and prey Pakistan thrash Australia shortly in UAE!

  • Andrew on August 18, 2012, 12:08 GMT

    @Ragav999 - mate my enduring memory of that innings, (apart from the sheer audacity of it), was a boundary he smeared off McGrath that left Glen shaking his head & more or less saying that it was luck (+ some adjectives). I mentioned McGrath, but it was a class bowling line up he tore apart.

  • Joe on August 18, 2012, 11:53 GMT

    Great news! first Kumble then Ganguly and then Dravid and now Laxman doesn't get any better than this instead just shows an ordinary team like India is declining and hopefully the big well little one soon :D

  • Preetam on August 18, 2012, 11:13 GMT

    This has really been a constant during his 16 years representing India - people questioning his place in the side. He had an outstanding 56+ average over 4 seasons (40 tests) prior to 2011 West Indies, batting at No. 6 with tail end for company most of the times. He failed in 2 series (Eng and Oz), and everybody wants him axed. But who didn't fail in those series? And for all those people who question his self belief and mental strength, you dont have to look further than all the times he got India victory with his 4th innings heroics. Everybody is entitled to his / her opinion. But I hope whatever decision VVS takes today, I hope it will be his and his decision alone. He stood by his conviction for 16 years and has given us some of the most memorable moments in test cricket - I will never forget Mohali 2010 (I didn't switch off the TV when Harbhajan fell - and what a wonderful day for test cricket it was).

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