VVS Laxman retires August 18, 2012

A wizard among muggles

To borrow from JK Rowling: in a dressing room of players of varying and outstanding gifts, achievements and records VVS Laxman was always the only magician
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VVS Laxman's retirement from international cricket comes like all significant retirements do - with a wave of gratitude and a sense of impending gloom. The gloom is largely impractical because everyone - the good, the great, the not-so-good, and the downright ugly - must someday leave the game.

The wave of gratitude in Laxman's case will be tidal, given the nature of his presence in India's greatest-ever middle order. To borrow from JK Rowling, in a dressing room of muggles - of varying and outstanding gifts, achievements and records - Laxman was always the only wizard.

His announcement comes the day after New Zealand landed in India for a two-Test series. For the last 24 hours, the strongest rumour doing the rounds was that this largely ho-hum season opener would become a rousing farewell tour for Laxman. And why not? The best of his cricket has been rousing stuff anyway, so some noise and sparkle in return, as he goes, would only have been in order.

Yet, far removed from noise and sparkle, in his retirement speech Laxman talked of his "inner voice" and its call to put the team's needs ahead of his "personal aspirations" - successful home series against Australia and England. As much as the immediate effect of his retirement surprised everyone, it ideally shouldn't have, mostly because it was Laxman. As the excess and flamboyance of Indian cricket has been amped up in these last few years, Laxman has remained a man of another time, given largely to modesty and graciousness. It is what he will be remembered for by his team-mates and the crowd. That and the wizardry of his batting, with its ability to defy coaching templates and the geometry of the game, and to make the most manic of situations melt away.

Laxman spoke of the fiendish difficulty of arriving at the decision and the "internal dialogue" that went through his mind for the last four or five days. His decision was conveyed to the selectors and the Indian board only on Saturday morning. If it unintentionally left the outgoing selectors with red faces, it is hard to sympathise with them. The Indian Test team may have played badly in the last 12 months, but the selectors have been way worse.

Laxman, however, leaves on his terms, with a clear conscience and the widest, most radiant grin in the game. When he was into the first two sentences of his retirement speech, the electricity failed in the Uppal Stadium's swish conference room. As Laxman laughed, the seriousness of the announcement dissolved a little.

What triggered Laxman's internal dialogue is not known. Wherever his internal tussle came from, it led to an utterly sound decision in cricketing terms: "to give an opportunity to youngsters, and no better than against an inexperienced New Zealand bowling attack."

Whenever great players retire - and Laxman's greatness is a part of the fabric of Indian cricket more than its record books - there is much discussion about "legacy" and the last few months of their career. What usually happens is the opposite: the mind goes into high-speed rewind, the last few months, if not glorious, fade into insignificance, and all that remains is a highlights package of memories. The highlights package of Laxman's career can be stuck into Harry Potter novels, replete as it is with adventure, drama and, of course, magic.

As Indian cricket amped up the excess and flamboyance in its last few years, Laxman remained a man of another time, given largely to modesty and graciousness. It is what he will be remembered for by his team-mates and the crowd

In Laxman's decision to stick on and play Ranji Trophy for Hyderabad lies something romantic, old-fashioned and quite Laxmanesque. This is, after all, an age when cricketers focus their attention on trimming their long-format games in order to stay relevant in T20. Laxman has spent recent months in fierce training. In his last competitive fixture, in the KSCA's invitational Shafi Darashah four-day tournament, he scored 169 for the Hyderabad Cricket Association XI against the KSCA XI in Mysore as recently as ten days ago. There is no doubt that he can still turn out for his struggling first-class team, and that he could even turn its fortunes around. When he plays home games for Hyderabad now, he will bat at an end in the Uppal stadium that will be named after him. In his own retiring, self-effacing yet proud way, he is his city Hyderabad's premier cricketer, bar none.

A unique and distinct batsman, Laxman has often been revealed by his career choices. At the turn of the century he told the selectors that he was not willing to be turned into a makeshift opener, ready to take a leap of faith and fight for his place in the middle order. When the IPL was being founded, Laxman gave up his "icon" status - i.e. a 15% higher earning than the highest-paid players - so that Deccan Chargers could have more funds at their disposal during the first auction. He has never talked about what he was promised by the owners in return for surrendering "icon" status and what he was actually paid. There's a very good chance it was neither equal nor more.

India's greatest middle order is now completely disbanded. The only man left in it is the man who became its foundation - Sachin Tendulkar. He will be batting in the Hyderabad Test around a remodelled line-up. He will look around the dressing room and miss colleagues of familiar and reassuring quality.

Yet for every rookie, starting out at home is actually the most comfortable of introductions to the demanding world of Test cricket. For most of his career in the middle order, whether at Nos. 3, 5, or 6, Laxman was always up to answering the most bafflingly difficult of Test cricket's demands. No muggle could possibly replicate the wizard's batting. The least a successor could attempt to do would be to match Laxman's mettle.

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • SatyajitM on August 22, 2012, 8:41 GMT

    A true legend. Surely one of the most artistic player I have seen play the game. A great contributor in difficult conditions. Above all a real gentleman leaving the game of gentlemen.

  • Cricket_Geek on August 21, 2012, 18:01 GMT

    Laxman a class act. Granted he had 2 bad series in a row. It happens to everybody. Dravid went through a bad patch. Tendulkar did as well. It was just that it happened to Laxman at the fag end of his career. Would have loved to see him go on a high. There are good batsmen but are they good enough to face the new ball at No 6 or play well with the tail which Laxman was a master at. Only time will tell. No 6 is as pivotal as the No 3 as on most occasions you need to face the new ball. India will go through a slump especially with most of the trusted middle order gone. Are the Kohlis, Rainas, Sharmas & Pujaras willing to take the mantle especially on overseas pitches. With our bowling attack it will just need the batsmen to fire almost everytime. With all that being said, lets just wish Laxman all the best for his life after cricket. He will be sorely missed

  • cricketmaniagola on August 21, 2012, 15:21 GMT

    I do not think he needed to call it quits...throughout his career he has played second fiddle to dravid, sachin, ganguly....he was a batsmen with supreme gift of timing in its own class unmatched powerless drive whizzing past fielders..a majestic site ...India needed him...while sehwag shd have made way for a new opener.....sorry Laxman...nobody is going to gift u the greatness u always deserved...unless u say its mine....but u shd have played on until Sachin retired....u r no less than anybody but a scapegoat...if that is for Suresh Raina....MSD link n CSK link can be smelled....completely disagree with his retirement...if Ponting can pledge to reclaim Ashes n play on why cant u to beat Ausies and poms in India....can not believe we are so mean...cdnt find replacement for Ganguly, n now Dravid was enough but u left a gap their buddy...

  • on August 21, 2012, 1:23 GMT

    From MIT only the best go to NASA & u find youself along with them missing most of MIT mates too. In Nasa you find new colleages & soon u r promoted to GM Engineering Now u have reached the peak. Now what?? Now u maintain your position at peak with your expertise…but in recession due to downsizing most other Nasa colleages r fired but u r not coz u r the best & later as a result of new hiring u find yourself alongside new colleages …….This is the journey of greats, they don't miss anyone's company (So does Sachin not miss laxman, Dravid etc, generations of cricketers have come in dressing room & have gone(Shastri, Jadeja, Gangully,next will be Dhoni & Sehwag)yet he is still there & will remain there till 2015 as India's no 1 batsman bcz greats know that at the peak they will be alone. If u r good enough & r interested to work you may continue to work regardless of your age & Sachin must continue unless he finds himself among the bottom 2 batsmen as 2 positions should be for rotation

  • on August 21, 2012, 1:20 GMT

    Shardha has this middle class mentality & must be an avg person so she doesn't know the fast track journey of the greats & how they maintain their position at pinnacle ALONE………….E.g if u r just a great student. You r in school with your mates most likely you skip a couple of grades, leave your old mates & find yourself alongside senior grade students, then they r your new mates, then bcz of your extra intelligence teachers find that you deserve tougher assignments so they send you in section A of senior class here again lose your old mates & find new mates. Now you go into the best college & whereas most earlier mates find avg colleges hence you make new mates in new college. From your college mates only a few get admission in IIT in Comp Engg so here u again make new mates. Here again u get exceptional GPA & find admission in MIT and none of your earlier mates is here with u so u again find new mates. .contd

  • nickydude on August 20, 2012, 20:20 GMT

    Perhaps, now we will understand where Sachin stands, now that, he has nowhere to hide amongst the 2 greats, who saved him many times with their performances. Check the records, when India've won :)

  • GONESREE on August 20, 2012, 15:48 GMT

    Laxman True Legend....Retirement is a personal decision and I am sure it is the right time for you..!!!

    You have taken most competitive cricketing nations on challenge.. and Australia is no less...they really cherish your wicket than any one else... This Hyderabadi will definitely be missed... I am sure you will share your experience with more budding cricketers....

  • cricket-india on August 20, 2012, 15:23 GMT

    well...vvs does not have records that cannot be equalled or broken;what he does have are records that can never be matched.

  • toopSTARS on August 20, 2012, 9:20 GMT

    what a batsman!

  • tusharkardile on August 20, 2012, 9:02 GMT

    Nice essay, Sharda. Can someone tell me if someone is going to write Laxman a tribute?

  • SatyajitM on August 22, 2012, 8:41 GMT

    A true legend. Surely one of the most artistic player I have seen play the game. A great contributor in difficult conditions. Above all a real gentleman leaving the game of gentlemen.

  • Cricket_Geek on August 21, 2012, 18:01 GMT

    Laxman a class act. Granted he had 2 bad series in a row. It happens to everybody. Dravid went through a bad patch. Tendulkar did as well. It was just that it happened to Laxman at the fag end of his career. Would have loved to see him go on a high. There are good batsmen but are they good enough to face the new ball at No 6 or play well with the tail which Laxman was a master at. Only time will tell. No 6 is as pivotal as the No 3 as on most occasions you need to face the new ball. India will go through a slump especially with most of the trusted middle order gone. Are the Kohlis, Rainas, Sharmas & Pujaras willing to take the mantle especially on overseas pitches. With our bowling attack it will just need the batsmen to fire almost everytime. With all that being said, lets just wish Laxman all the best for his life after cricket. He will be sorely missed

  • cricketmaniagola on August 21, 2012, 15:21 GMT

    I do not think he needed to call it quits...throughout his career he has played second fiddle to dravid, sachin, ganguly....he was a batsmen with supreme gift of timing in its own class unmatched powerless drive whizzing past fielders..a majestic site ...India needed him...while sehwag shd have made way for a new opener.....sorry Laxman...nobody is going to gift u the greatness u always deserved...unless u say its mine....but u shd have played on until Sachin retired....u r no less than anybody but a scapegoat...if that is for Suresh Raina....MSD link n CSK link can be smelled....completely disagree with his retirement...if Ponting can pledge to reclaim Ashes n play on why cant u to beat Ausies and poms in India....can not believe we are so mean...cdnt find replacement for Ganguly, n now Dravid was enough but u left a gap their buddy...

  • on August 21, 2012, 1:23 GMT

    From MIT only the best go to NASA & u find youself along with them missing most of MIT mates too. In Nasa you find new colleages & soon u r promoted to GM Engineering Now u have reached the peak. Now what?? Now u maintain your position at peak with your expertise…but in recession due to downsizing most other Nasa colleages r fired but u r not coz u r the best & later as a result of new hiring u find yourself alongside new colleages …….This is the journey of greats, they don't miss anyone's company (So does Sachin not miss laxman, Dravid etc, generations of cricketers have come in dressing room & have gone(Shastri, Jadeja, Gangully,next will be Dhoni & Sehwag)yet he is still there & will remain there till 2015 as India's no 1 batsman bcz greats know that at the peak they will be alone. If u r good enough & r interested to work you may continue to work regardless of your age & Sachin must continue unless he finds himself among the bottom 2 batsmen as 2 positions should be for rotation

  • on August 21, 2012, 1:20 GMT

    Shardha has this middle class mentality & must be an avg person so she doesn't know the fast track journey of the greats & how they maintain their position at pinnacle ALONE………….E.g if u r just a great student. You r in school with your mates most likely you skip a couple of grades, leave your old mates & find yourself alongside senior grade students, then they r your new mates, then bcz of your extra intelligence teachers find that you deserve tougher assignments so they send you in section A of senior class here again lose your old mates & find new mates. Now you go into the best college & whereas most earlier mates find avg colleges hence you make new mates in new college. From your college mates only a few get admission in IIT in Comp Engg so here u again make new mates. Here again u get exceptional GPA & find admission in MIT and none of your earlier mates is here with u so u again find new mates. .contd

  • nickydude on August 20, 2012, 20:20 GMT

    Perhaps, now we will understand where Sachin stands, now that, he has nowhere to hide amongst the 2 greats, who saved him many times with their performances. Check the records, when India've won :)

  • GONESREE on August 20, 2012, 15:48 GMT

    Laxman True Legend....Retirement is a personal decision and I am sure it is the right time for you..!!!

    You have taken most competitive cricketing nations on challenge.. and Australia is no less...they really cherish your wicket than any one else... This Hyderabadi will definitely be missed... I am sure you will share your experience with more budding cricketers....

  • cricket-india on August 20, 2012, 15:23 GMT

    well...vvs does not have records that cannot be equalled or broken;what he does have are records that can never be matched.

  • toopSTARS on August 20, 2012, 9:20 GMT

    what a batsman!

  • tusharkardile on August 20, 2012, 9:02 GMT

    Nice essay, Sharda. Can someone tell me if someone is going to write Laxman a tribute?

  • RD28 on August 20, 2012, 9:00 GMT

    All these accolades --Great batsman , Hard to replace , Great void , Great Human being kind of tributes paid by Dhoni, Gangully , players and Other commentators make me realize that People are Idolized or Spoken Good about only after their death and Cricketers are only Missed after their Retirement, Lakshman you deserved a better farewell we can realize how much the same people might have hurt you for you to walk away with out talking what you deserve

  • g.narsimha on August 20, 2012, 8:32 GMT

    Front- Foot- Launge- u need not worry on INDIAN cricket we have the tradition of prodocing world class batsmen, kohly is already on the seen, what about u r team , our young brigade shown u in odis u r right place by thrashing 5-0 in india won nothing in 2 decades in our place how could u forget white wash at UAE , dont worry our youngesters are more than enough for u r home tigers in upcoming series in INDIA , concentrate on the LORDS test u r NO-1 ranking is slipping away , SAFFERS are down at u r throats , at least wont lose at our place.

  • harshthakor on August 20, 2012, 7:53 GMT

    The best batting artist of the modern era.In terms of pure innovative ability V.V.S.Laxman was in the Tendulkar-Lara class.Never did true justice to his talent.In match-winning run chases amongst the all-time great batsman who averaged 79 runs in chases.Above all his best knocks were match-winning innings and he was arguably the best match-winning Indian batsman of all with Sehwag.His 281 at Calcutta v Australia in 2001 and century at Adelaide in 2003-04 will be etched for ever in the hearts of cricket lovers.In 2003-04 he batted better in an Australian season than any Indian batsman ever.Indian cricket will find it difficult to find his replacement.

  • on August 20, 2012, 4:44 GMT

    laxam is a rare talent with extraordinary mental strength & calmness matched only with the determination of Dravid....stats wise; in win and match saving ratios the great master Sachin will also envy...BCCI wasted this talent in the side lines due to the personal selfish captain choices....We will all miss this talented and aggressive batsman....

  • on August 20, 2012, 3:41 GMT

    Sad day...Hope Tendulkar doesnt retire anytime soon. i.e at least for 10 yrs. Now THAT would be really sad.

  • skumar77 on August 20, 2012, 3:13 GMT

    Indian cricket will miss that silken touch, that deftness of wrist and that indomitable temperament.

    We bow humbly to one of the legends of the game while cherishing the fond memories he has given to true Indian cricket fans, some of whom would rate him higher than others who have been glorified.

  • Unifex on August 20, 2012, 2:45 GMT

    Here in Australia we hold VVS in the highest esteem. He's one of the greatest and most graceful players ever to grace a cricket field.

  • cricPassion2009 on August 20, 2012, 1:34 GMT

    Dear Laxman, we will dearly miss you. It's not going to be about your cricketing statistics, but it's about your style, fighting ability, match-saving and match-winning ability. Both your conscience and record are clean. Your 8781 beautiful, winning runs for team India will be cherished.

  • Puffin on August 19, 2012, 23:15 GMT

    Yes, he was a wizard, but no need for the Harry Potter references.

    There's never an easy time to pass on the torch. We can only look forward to the next batch of world-class players, and if we are lucky, we will see others who will entertain us just as much.

  • ygkd on August 19, 2012, 20:15 GMT

    Please do not confuse VVS with Harry Potter! I could never sit and watch a Potter flick. But I could watch VVS any time.

  • 158notout on August 19, 2012, 13:22 GMT

    just wonder why the childish readers can't accept a great has gone and pay tribute rather than descend into another pointless, irrelevant and innaccurate mudslinging between indian, aussie and english fans.

  • on August 19, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    VVS name instantly relates us to -- Calmness, Crisis handling abilities, match winning innings, his 281, some of his partnerships with Rahul and Sachin in Australia, against SA in 2nd innings when India were some 19 for 5, many 40s' and 50's when batting was so difficult and top order crumbled, the class he exhibited while batting with Other Greats and the ease with which he used to negotiate the ball etc. VVS amply possesses the greatest technical skill that is required to amass quality runs-not just runs and also the character to be remembered for its immaculateness and to be quite frank- I relate his conduct on cricket field--with what Bhagawad Geetha taught--- Do your best come what may. VVS is such an ardent follower of his religion dharma and I wonder--whether we can see another VVS from a total VVS perspective again. What we should realize is as far as Test Cricket is concerned, whatever is the form of Rahul and VVS now, they are still very very good to be in 5 along with Gambhir

  • shadab732 on August 19, 2012, 12:45 GMT

    ashok16 the no. 2 wont retire unless he becomes the no.1 for you

  • rayaprolu on August 19, 2012, 10:08 GMT

    VVS we will miss you. It is difficult to watch test matches without VVS and Dravid in the team.You played many memorable innings including that knock of 281 which I still feel humanly impossible.I salute you for your wonderful knocks all these years and you will be in our hearts for ever. I wish you all the best for you and your family.

  • on August 19, 2012, 9:52 GMT

    Cant understand why people keep talking about Tendulkar in a retirement announcement by another great VVS . Tendulkar will go when he thinks its his time, try to concentrate on the illustrious career of VVS ... not the ongoing one of Tendulkar

  • aarpee2 on August 19, 2012, 9:26 GMT

    The fact that VVS reserved his best against the ruthless marauding Aussies at their best notwithstanding his 4 ODI hundreds against them tells the tale -that alone makes him arguably the champion among the best in the world. His grace,style and mild manners is truly a leaf the new boys on the block will do well to emulate-he let his bat do the talking in the company of the tail time and again.No wonder it was the A ussies who first referred to him as 'very very special' That coming from the most feared opponents of the time is the ultimate tribute to the ultimate warrior who displayed a unique quality of style with substance.All genuine lovers of the game will truly miss a class act that he surely was.

  • on August 19, 2012, 9:17 GMT

    Well done Laxman, wishing you a great future and looking forward to your contribution to Indian cricket in other ways in near future.

  • Beazle on August 19, 2012, 8:45 GMT

    A wonderful, elegant stylish master. He played the greatest innings ever played by an Asian batsman and in an era when the Australians were the dominant team, he was their greatest foe. Others like Sachin and Dravid may have scored mre runs but Laxman actually won matches.

  • on August 19, 2012, 8:10 GMT

    End of traditional game with Dravid's retirement End of stylish game with Laxman's retirement. If sachin retires it will be end of records. We will have to depend on high-light to enjoy the cricket 'game'.. Whatever we are going to see in future is going to be a modern era of cricket. I am certain that Indian cricket is going to be different from today onwards. Before sachin retires people could see replacement in Kohli. But Dravid's place is void.. You can never find such a dignified and professional player.. Same in case of Laxman. it is very difficult to find a batsman who can play along with talienders and who can turn matches in 4th innings. We miss the magician...

  • ashok16 on August 19, 2012, 8:10 GMT

    After the 8-0 loss, it was time for VVS to call it a day. But considering the extent of Indian cricket's recent shamelessness, it was good of Laxman not plod along through a New Zealand tour. We are all remembered for the sum balance of our achievements. VVS is great and will retire as the fifth greatest of Indian batsmen (Gavaskar, Tendulkar, Dravid, Vishwanath, VVS). When will the No. 2 retire?

  • on August 19, 2012, 7:27 GMT

    Very Very Special Laxman has left the room gentleman... once there were 5 now there is only one... tick tock.. tick tock...

  • on August 19, 2012, 7:08 GMT

    Two days, and i am yet to read a good tribute on Laxman. This is good but not as good as i normally expect from Sharda Ugra.

  • Farce-Follower on August 19, 2012, 6:55 GMT

    VVS was let down by his own captain and chairman of selectors. What a shame, for the future Indian Test team is doomed to mediocrity, with MSD as captain. England and Australia will both beat India at home.

  • on August 19, 2012, 6:53 GMT

    respect ! india's most respected cricketer. i wish he opens a cricket academy or take a larger role in the administration. salute to you. thank you for entertaining us over last two decades. we owe you. 281 ROX

  • on August 19, 2012, 6:51 GMT

    VVS Laxman..Hats off to you..the decision to go out listening to your inner voice...Hope Mr Manjrekar and all others who used to pass snide remarks about your continuing in the Indian Team will be relieved now....

  • on August 19, 2012, 6:47 GMT

    Dravid and Laxman are class apart from their contemprories in the Indian Team and in the cricket world on how they handled themselves on and off the field over the years. Here is another example of Laxman giving way to an younger cricketer the chance of playing against a weeker side at home conditions while sacrificing the pleasure of closing your career at your home ground. Laxman is not a man of sentiments and he has proved what is big in his heart - Team India's future rather than his own personal glory. For some reason Dravid and Laxman did not get the credit that is due to them which was easily given (sometimes more than their fair share) to their more popular colleagues - Sachin and Ganguly. Of course sheer on-field performance of Dravid and Laxman ensured that they were not completely ignored either. It is time to celebrate the great achievements of VVS Laxman. I home the younger test cricket aspirants will choose these two as their "IDOLS".

  • kris.ganesh on August 19, 2012, 5:06 GMT

    When Sachin goes in to the dressing room on Aug 24, he will definitely feel lonely and will feel that he is missing something. Back to VVS, You are such a fighter who taught the entire cricketing world how to handle the great aussie bowling attack when they are at their peak. We all are going to miss you and Dravid the most. May be we people might not be intersted in watching cricket anymore.......

  • on August 19, 2012, 4:03 GMT

    Great tribute from Sharda - - glad that selectors gave him an opportunity to bow out in style but guess not enjoying Dhoni's confidence was the last straw

    we will miss VVS for sure

  • coolindianfan on August 19, 2012, 3:57 GMT

    @frontfoot india did have white washes in australia and england u think about it unprooven when did an aussie or an english batsmen get 281 last time none right. australia were also white washed in india 2-0 in 2010 and the famous 5-0 whitewash by australia . and enland were just good team in 2000s.we once managed to win in2007 england could never win a series in india tell me one englishmen who has near 9000runs in tests none right we were the only team to challenge all conqeuring aussies where the englishmen have almost always whitewashed england were once right at the bottom in 98 india never had that lows .also u r yet to win a global event like the 50 over wc . ur records in past 3-4 years are fine but then again england had a 3-0 dobbing recently against pak u have lost 2 series since 2007 in ur own bakyard.we ruled the game invented by u before u. u talk about 2011 but we managed to hang on to the no 1 spot for 20 months england is on the verge of loosing one.

  • coolindianfan on August 19, 2012, 3:38 GMT

    kudos to laxman .on song like lara and dravid a site for gods to watch. great player and a great man someone similar to dravid . his knock of 281 against the all conquering aussies will per haps be the greatest knock of all time along with hanif mohommads 337 . not to forget the several gritty 90s and the one knock of 80 odd in aus in scg which gave aus a tough target to chase .like dravid he was also to some extent an unsung herohe had the remarkable ability to have two shots for the same ball. although like dravid he should have been given a farewell against nz .the 2md of the big 3. .we will miss udearly.magic in wrists indeed.one last time "hats off"

  • on August 19, 2012, 2:55 GMT

    Laxman deserves much more than a harry potter reference

  • Nadeem1976 on August 19, 2012, 2:27 GMT

    i will remember Laxman for his extreme timing of the ball. I watched him live against Shoaib Akhtar in Lahore 8 years ago when Akhtar was world fastest bowler. I was stunned to watch Laxman hit 4 consecutive fours to shoaib akhtar in his first over under lights. That is the most amazing piece of cricket i have ever seen live in stadium. Me Pakistani but still respect Laxman for doing that because it was great great cricket.

  • on August 19, 2012, 2:17 GMT

    thanks for all the memories vvs i will surely miss u in test cricket

  • on August 19, 2012, 0:01 GMT

    Thanks for the memories VVS! If not anything, the memories of that 167 in Sydney and 281 in Kolkata would live on forever!

  • indianpunter on August 18, 2012, 23:56 GMT

    A true great in his own right. Adios, VVS. I dont quite get the fawning over the retirement timing though. Had there been not a backlash after his recent ( flawed) selection, he wouldn't have retired. If he had the thought of " not blocking a youngster" ; this announcement should have come after the disaster down under. Thanks for the memories, VVS.

  • on August 18, 2012, 23:55 GMT

    @Front_foot_lunge Ind and Aus have been busy cooking humble pie for England,and make no mistake,it wont be served to eat,it would be smeared on English cricket's face..will make sure English team is sent back to the dungeons of batting/bowling boredom from which they have somehow managed to escape from,very very recently

  • on August 18, 2012, 23:35 GMT

    People need to wake up. Indian team is very beatable even in India. If a West Indies team without most of their experienced batsmen like Gayle Sarwan, Nash etc & average bowlers like Fidel, Rampaul & Darren Sammy as captain & 3rd seamer could get 1st innings points twice in India vs Sehwag, Dravid, Ghambir, Laxman Dhoni & the Great Sachin Tendulkar how far fetched is it that England or Australia can win a test series in the sub continent especially after Dravid & now laxman have retired? If Sehwag or Sachin or Zaheer call it a day b4 the pataudi or border gavaskar trophy India will stand very little chance of regaining either trophy from my point of view

  • on August 18, 2012, 23:35 GMT

    Test cricket will miss you Laxman.... you are indeed Very Very Special... with 3 out of Fab four gone in Indian middle order... I am not sure whether I will be interested in watching Indian test cricket again with same passion... thanks for all the wonderful memories you gave to us...

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on August 18, 2012, 23:00 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster: Your inability to record any events of the cricketing world for the past three years amazes me, and proves just how often you watch the game. Who could forget the last Ashes, as just one example, when the crafty Anderson proved he could be just as lethal on flat tracks down under or green tops in England (despite the pitches here being flat as a pancake too). Clearly you can. You're three years late my friend. Time to buy some DVD's and catch up.

  • psprasa on August 18, 2012, 20:38 GMT

    very apt heading for the article

  • the_blue_android on August 18, 2012, 20:35 GMT

    @ Front-foot-lunge - I can assure you that your pop-gun will retire after the India series if they don't feign injury. You must be kidding yourself that england will ever win in India. Can't wait for your pop-gun 125 KMPH attack of James Anderson and Stuart Broad bowling to Sehwag on Indian pitches. Last time your bowlers were here, everybody knows what happened. Harmison and Flintoff butchered!

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 18, 2012, 20:23 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge: With such funny comments, you should be nicknamed "JESTER" of Cricinfo. Yes team India has lost another great. Sure, that makes team India a lot more vulnerable. But even with all of India's weaknesses, England don't have what it takes to beat India in India. What with batsmen who don't know how to play even average spinners !, bowlers who don't know HOW to bowl when there is zero pace and swing !, players who are more likely to break down due to other non-cricket reasons ! etc. So get ready for some end of careers in the England camp following the tour to India. Cause there is a history of that every time after England comes to India. LOL

  • on August 18, 2012, 19:35 GMT

    @McGorium ..Can't agree more. I just hope she will not write article when sachin retires.

  • CRKS on August 18, 2012, 19:23 GMT

    except for the last 2 series he made special contribution in every series .. so many match winning and match saving innings ..thanks for the memories ..few memorable innings against Australia... 281 vs Aus, Kolkata, 178 vs Aus, sydney, 200 vs Australia, Delhi, 148 vs Australia, Adelaide, 167 vs Aus, sydney , 109 vs Aus sydney ..not to forget special innings in mohali chasing with tailenders

  • JKSFB on August 18, 2012, 18:43 GMT

    The true greatness of Laxman lies in the fact that he was the catalyst of India's suceess overseas (and at home) for more than 5 years. Imagine if the 281 had not happened and India lost to Steve Waugh's Australia that day at the Eden....We would have nothing really to write about today.....Laxman will always be remembered as the finest Indian batsman under Australian conditions - bar none! Even in 2007-8, he spanked Mitchell Johnson all round the SCG as if MJ was a schoolkid....And by then, Laxman was not really at his peak! India's success from 2001-2008 stemmed from the trio of Laxman-Dravid-Ganguly (as captain) and ably supported by Kuimble, Zaheer, Sehwag, Sachin, etc

  • on August 18, 2012, 18:19 GMT

    To say Laxman is Hyderabad's premier cricketer is big statement. Mohammad Azharuddin----are you listening?

  • Rumy1 on August 18, 2012, 17:56 GMT

    Kris Srikkanth is really a JOKER. His decisions have bordered on insanity. He must go. How could he let go VVS now when Sachin is still in the team. He should have asked Sachin first to retire.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on August 18, 2012, 17:53 GMT

    Laxman had his career ended in the whitewash humilation at the hands of England. With India's bowling cupboard famously as bare as it is, and with unproven batsmen clinging on to their place, it's going to be a very interestign year: Clearly England and South Africa are head and shoulders above the other lower, average teams. Will a feeble India manage to produce a contest against England this winter? Doesn't look like it. Nicely played Laxman, but you're yet another batsman who've had their career ended by England.

  • balajik1968 on August 18, 2012, 16:57 GMT

    To go further down this route, I'd say VVS was the Manna Dey of Indian cricket, someone who did not get his real due.

  • McGorium on August 18, 2012, 16:35 GMT

    So is that what one does these days -- quoting JK Rowling in an attempt to appear erudite. Not unlike Rowling's literature of questionable quality, this article is a lot of fluff that says a lot but says nothing at all: some speculation on Laxman's state of mind, some more on his sacrifice in IPL, and Harry Potter references. This article could have done with something interesting about Laxman the batsman, slip-fielder, and gentleman.

  • ashwin1729 on August 18, 2012, 16:14 GMT

    Australia must be very very happy!

  • on August 18, 2012, 16:09 GMT

    Thanks for some Very Very Special times!!

  • on August 18, 2012, 15:38 GMT

    Curtain falls on India's go to man in the most challenging times. Arguably, played one of the finest innings in cricket's history. A bit surprised not to see him play his farewell match at his home ground. But then again, he always had the team's interest ahead of his own.

  • SandeshSavant on August 18, 2012, 15:35 GMT

    Humility is one trait VVS' successors must emulate. Success and runs will follow.

  • vish2020 on August 18, 2012, 15:34 GMT

    Great job Ugra! Couldn't have said it any better! Very Very Special player and a human being. There will be many like others but there will be none like VVS.

  • on August 18, 2012, 15:17 GMT

    ..well written Sharda..Laxman will be well and truly missed..

  • crindo77 on August 18, 2012, 15:15 GMT

    Sportswriters love inventive and striking headlines and Ms Ugra is no exception. Not sure though Sehwag, Sachin, Dravid would appreciate being tagged as Muggles. Maybe VVS was Severus Snape, the unsung hero? Jokes aside, as David Gower said on TV today, a good decision, for I feel, you can always rely on the Indian selectors to make the bad ones. Also good to see people like VVS and Dravid leading the way in thinking of the good of Indian cricket for a change. If it were left to messrs Srikkanth and co, we would be playing with the Big 3 and Sehwag till 2015. Thanks for showing the way VVS.

  • on August 18, 2012, 15:11 GMT

    U'd be missed VVS. Havent seen someone do firefighting so gracefully......

  • on August 18, 2012, 15:07 GMT

    The loner, who would sit in a corner, bored with all that was happening around him, occasionally writing a poem or two, and humming a beautiful tune to himself. Only when the toughest of courses came would he wake up, and lo and behold, would top them by his sheer artistry If the youngsters like Dhoni,Kohli and Raina earn lime light Laxman earn respect in the dressing room which doent come too often like big cheque always went to salman khan but critique always love naseeruddin shah performance indian cricket will surely going to miss u :-(

  • Ramamruth on August 18, 2012, 15:01 GMT

    Ms Sharada's is a master-piece which VVS richly deserves . His exploits will be ever green in the cricket almanac like say .. the Tale of Two cities .. Even when he's missed in the Test cricketing scene, his gentlemanly presence will be woefully missed .. Best of Luck Laxman .. God be with you in all your fture endeavours !! Love from this senior-citizen-cricket-fan Raman Muthuswamy Bangalore**

  • xylo on August 18, 2012, 14:57 GMT

    Very true: Laxman has remained a man of another time, given largely to modesty and graciousness. Very false: The only man left in it, is the man who became its foundation - Sachin Tendulkar. - We aren't talking about the ODI team here. The great Indian journey to the No.1 status largely relied on Gambhir, Dravid and Laxman among batsmen, with occasional flash in the pan performances from Sehwag and Tendulkar.

  • on August 18, 2012, 14:51 GMT

    That was beautiful!! Sharda, I think you excelled yourself, having said that you had one mindblowing subject ;o)

  • on August 18, 2012, 14:41 GMT

    Ugra sums it up by saying "No muggle could possibly replicate the wizard's batting. " Laxman was as stylish a player, if not more, as Mark Waugh and Saeed Anwar... except with better numbers then them both. Respect from a Pakistani Fan.

  • on August 18, 2012, 14:41 GMT

    The second last paragraph sort of hit very hard. Fab 4 is no more, sigh. The noobs like Kohli, Sharma and Pujara might well be able to rebuild something of the same order, but the nostalgia of that awesome batting line will be something else. They were the part of that legendary lineup which I watched with awe as I grew up.

    All was well, except for the references to the corny Rowlings stuff.

  • on August 18, 2012, 14:35 GMT

    To me the fact that most players (including Dravid), post retirement, have continued their cricket in IPL while VVS Laxman will try to play for his underdog Hyderabad Ranji trophy perfectly sums up the immense grace, class & loyalty of this man. He may have been consistently delivering in international test cricket under pressure for 16 years (and could also have done in ODI cricket but for the unfair treatment meted out to him by selectors) but to me his humility & loyalty makes him belong to a different era. Thank you VVS Laxman for giving me pure joy with your elegant batting, your ability to deliver under pressure and your humility, which no other cricketer could ever match.

  • on August 18, 2012, 14:33 GMT

    I'm West Indian, and I personally thought that Laxman has at least a year of cricket ahead of him. However, someday, a cricket career must end. Goodbye VVS, and all the best after retirement. You remain one of the unsung heroes of Indian Cricket together with Rahul Dravid.

  • Unmesh_cric on August 18, 2012, 14:28 GMT

    One of my favorite batsmen, a crisis man for the Indian team, a master of second innings and playing with the tail, a true legend! Test cricket will miss VVS.

  • RK.Chandru on August 18, 2012, 14:27 GMT

    "I think this is the right time to give the youngsters a chance in home conditions ahead of international assignments...." What a vision! What a thought!! If only other senior(s) in the team think(s) like VVS..... Khudos to VVS for timing his retirement to perfection! No doubt! he sure, would have performed better and added one or two centuries or half centuries to his credit. But the man he is, he placed team's interests ahead of his own as always... (are you hearing LM?) That's our Very very Special Lakshman! May he guide Hyderabad Ranji team for a season or two and contribute his might to HCA and Indian Cricket in the years to come. We love and admire you VVS! None can ever forget your "NEVER SAY DIE" attitude ever!

  • rahulcricket007 on August 18, 2012, 14:20 GMT

    IT'S QUITE EASY TO SAY FOR ALL CRICKET EXPERTS TO GIVE CHANCE TO YOUNGSTERS . BUT CAN YOU PLEASE TELL ME HOW LONG WE TAKE TO FIND A PERFECT REPLACEMENT FOR GANGULY . HE RETIRED IN 2008 (OR FORCED TO RETIRE ) AFTER 4 YEARS YET WE ARE UNABLE TO FIND A GOOD NO .6 TO FILL HIS SLOT . NOW WE HAVE TO FIND TWO MORE DESERVING CANDIDATES IN PLACE OF DRAVID , LAXMAN . I CAN SEE INDIA 'S DOMINANCE AT HOME IS OVER .

  • on August 18, 2012, 13:56 GMT

    Salute to the man who made me watch an entire day of classy Test cricket in March 2001. Thank you for the memories, VVS. You have always remained the epitome of grace and dignity.

  • on August 18, 2012, 13:48 GMT

    "The wizard among muggles": What an apt line to capture the artistry of VVS Laxman. But what it fails to capture that his magic was always delivered under pressure. He had the courage of a Gryffindor (Facing up to pressure & being the highest scorer in 2nd innings in both matches that ended the 16 test streak of evil death eaters (read Aussies)), brains of a Ravenclaw (The way he batted with the tail), the loyalty of Hufflepuff ( Never a single outburst against BCCI/coach/captain despite being treated shabbily by selectors & under captaincy of Ganguly & Dravid. 2003 WC decision was a scandal as proven by his performance of 5 ODI 100s in the seasons immediately after WC 2003: 3 against Aussies, 3 in Aus & a 107 in 104 balls to win a decisive match @ Lahore in a Indo-Pak series locked 2-2). He was the person who task was to conjure a patronus when all in his dressing room had fainted in the face of a dementor attack. And as Phineas Nigellus said about Dumbledore, Laxman has got style.

  • SudharsanVM on August 18, 2012, 13:37 GMT

    Dravid and Laxman. Two gentlemen. They dont play for galleries. They dont want any farewell test. They dont want to block a youngster's place to get practised in Indian conditions for 10 tests and instead prepare wel for SA tour late 2013. Good hearts and great characters.

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 18, 2012, 13:35 GMT

    Yes he was really VERY VERY SPECIAL !! He and Dravid, were the only two players that made a CYNIC of test cricket such as myself, stand and take notice. I will never ever forget that 281 against Australia at the Eden Gardens in 2001. Only a special player can play an innings like that. His absence will leave a BIG hole in the middle order of India's test team. It will be YEARS before we see another player of VVS's calibre in the team. A sad end to such a champion player. We will miss the genius from Hyderabad - VVS Laxman.

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  • Cpt.Meanster on August 18, 2012, 13:35 GMT

    Yes he was really VERY VERY SPECIAL !! He and Dravid, were the only two players that made a CYNIC of test cricket such as myself, stand and take notice. I will never ever forget that 281 against Australia at the Eden Gardens in 2001. Only a special player can play an innings like that. His absence will leave a BIG hole in the middle order of India's test team. It will be YEARS before we see another player of VVS's calibre in the team. A sad end to such a champion player. We will miss the genius from Hyderabad - VVS Laxman.

  • SudharsanVM on August 18, 2012, 13:37 GMT

    Dravid and Laxman. Two gentlemen. They dont play for galleries. They dont want any farewell test. They dont want to block a youngster's place to get practised in Indian conditions for 10 tests and instead prepare wel for SA tour late 2013. Good hearts and great characters.

  • on August 18, 2012, 13:48 GMT

    "The wizard among muggles": What an apt line to capture the artistry of VVS Laxman. But what it fails to capture that his magic was always delivered under pressure. He had the courage of a Gryffindor (Facing up to pressure & being the highest scorer in 2nd innings in both matches that ended the 16 test streak of evil death eaters (read Aussies)), brains of a Ravenclaw (The way he batted with the tail), the loyalty of Hufflepuff ( Never a single outburst against BCCI/coach/captain despite being treated shabbily by selectors & under captaincy of Ganguly & Dravid. 2003 WC decision was a scandal as proven by his performance of 5 ODI 100s in the seasons immediately after WC 2003: 3 against Aussies, 3 in Aus & a 107 in 104 balls to win a decisive match @ Lahore in a Indo-Pak series locked 2-2). He was the person who task was to conjure a patronus when all in his dressing room had fainted in the face of a dementor attack. And as Phineas Nigellus said about Dumbledore, Laxman has got style.

  • on August 18, 2012, 13:56 GMT

    Salute to the man who made me watch an entire day of classy Test cricket in March 2001. Thank you for the memories, VVS. You have always remained the epitome of grace and dignity.

  • rahulcricket007 on August 18, 2012, 14:20 GMT

    IT'S QUITE EASY TO SAY FOR ALL CRICKET EXPERTS TO GIVE CHANCE TO YOUNGSTERS . BUT CAN YOU PLEASE TELL ME HOW LONG WE TAKE TO FIND A PERFECT REPLACEMENT FOR GANGULY . HE RETIRED IN 2008 (OR FORCED TO RETIRE ) AFTER 4 YEARS YET WE ARE UNABLE TO FIND A GOOD NO .6 TO FILL HIS SLOT . NOW WE HAVE TO FIND TWO MORE DESERVING CANDIDATES IN PLACE OF DRAVID , LAXMAN . I CAN SEE INDIA 'S DOMINANCE AT HOME IS OVER .

  • RK.Chandru on August 18, 2012, 14:27 GMT

    "I think this is the right time to give the youngsters a chance in home conditions ahead of international assignments...." What a vision! What a thought!! If only other senior(s) in the team think(s) like VVS..... Khudos to VVS for timing his retirement to perfection! No doubt! he sure, would have performed better and added one or two centuries or half centuries to his credit. But the man he is, he placed team's interests ahead of his own as always... (are you hearing LM?) That's our Very very Special Lakshman! May he guide Hyderabad Ranji team for a season or two and contribute his might to HCA and Indian Cricket in the years to come. We love and admire you VVS! None can ever forget your "NEVER SAY DIE" attitude ever!

  • Unmesh_cric on August 18, 2012, 14:28 GMT

    One of my favorite batsmen, a crisis man for the Indian team, a master of second innings and playing with the tail, a true legend! Test cricket will miss VVS.

  • on August 18, 2012, 14:33 GMT

    I'm West Indian, and I personally thought that Laxman has at least a year of cricket ahead of him. However, someday, a cricket career must end. Goodbye VVS, and all the best after retirement. You remain one of the unsung heroes of Indian Cricket together with Rahul Dravid.

  • on August 18, 2012, 14:35 GMT

    To me the fact that most players (including Dravid), post retirement, have continued their cricket in IPL while VVS Laxman will try to play for his underdog Hyderabad Ranji trophy perfectly sums up the immense grace, class & loyalty of this man. He may have been consistently delivering in international test cricket under pressure for 16 years (and could also have done in ODI cricket but for the unfair treatment meted out to him by selectors) but to me his humility & loyalty makes him belong to a different era. Thank you VVS Laxman for giving me pure joy with your elegant batting, your ability to deliver under pressure and your humility, which no other cricketer could ever match.

  • on August 18, 2012, 14:41 GMT

    The second last paragraph sort of hit very hard. Fab 4 is no more, sigh. The noobs like Kohli, Sharma and Pujara might well be able to rebuild something of the same order, but the nostalgia of that awesome batting line will be something else. They were the part of that legendary lineup which I watched with awe as I grew up.

    All was well, except for the references to the corny Rowlings stuff.