August 18, 2012

Laxman's retirement speech

ESPNcricinfo staff

A transcript of VVS Laxman's retirement speech made in Hyderabad on Saturday.

Thank you everyone for coming over here at such a short notice. I would like to announce my retirement from international cricket with immediate effect.

It has been 16 years since I made my international debut for India and I feel it is the right time to move on. I have always kept the country's success and needs ahead of my personal aspirations and hence, while I would have loved to be contributing to the team success against England and Australia later in the season, I think it's the right time to give the opportunity to groom a youngster in home conditions before the tough tours overseas next year.

As a youngster, representing India was a dream and I am grateful to the almighty for blessing me to live my dream. I have always felt that through cricket, I got an opportunity to serve my country and I therefore took a lot of pride in wearing the India cap. I was fortunate to play in an era when the Indian cricket team played some of its best cricket, both at home and abroad.

I was very lucky that I had a lot of people during this fabulous journey who guided and encouraged me and I take this opportunity to sincerely thank all of them from the bottom of my heart. My parents, Dr V Shantharam and Dr V Satyabhama, for the upbringing they gave me which helped me face various challenges and situations in my career with equanimity and also for giving me the freedom and independence to pursue my passion of playing cricket. My uncle, Baba Krishna Mohan, who actually spotted the talent in me and probably had the biggest influence on my life.

My wife, Sailaja, who has been a pillar of strength to me since our marriage in 2004. She made a lot of sacrifices in her personal aspirations only to make sure I pursued my passion of playing cricket for the country with a free mind. She has almost single-handedly looked after my two lovely kids, Sarvajit and Achinthya, as I was, most of the time, travelling with my cricket commitments.

My brother, VVS Ramakrishna, for all the love and affection he showered on me. My childhood buddies Rajesh and Parth for the continued friendship they share with me. My teachers at the Little Flower High School, especially Jaiprakash Sir, for all the encouragement they gave me early in my life.

My coaches at the St John's Cricket Foundation for the guidance and support they gave me. My personal coach Ashok bhai, for spending endless hours so that I can hone my skills. The Hyderabad Cricket Association, for recognising my talent and encouraging me, especially at the start of my career.

The BCCI for giving me an opportunity to play for my country for nearly 16 years. All my coaches at the various teams I represented at the domestic and national levels, for always encouraging and motivating me to become a consistent performer. All the selectors, for reposing faith in my abilities and giving me an opportunity to serve the country. All the captains I played under, for inspiring me.

All the teammates with whom I played and shared the best moments of my life. I was very fortunate to play with colleagues who took a lot of pride in theirs and the team's performances and most of them have become legends of the game. The affection, bonding and friendship they shared with me will be cherished by me for life. All the physios and trainers who worked hard to keep me fit.

All my friends from the media who always supported me during my career. All my fans and well-wishers from India and across the world for all the encouragement and good wishes they showered on me. I tried my best to give everything I had to the team while maintaining my dignity. There were times I am sure I must have disappointed them, but I can assure them it was definitely not because of a lack of effort.

I conclude in all humility, by praying to the Almighty, to take Indian cricket to the highest level in the world in all forms of the game.

Thank you for all your support.