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India's star middle order batsman, Vangipurappu Venkata Sai Laxman dropped a bombshell last evening, declaring that he is contemplating retirement from international cricket during the New Zealand series that marks the beginning of a choc-a-block home season for the Indian cricket team. According to concrete reports, the veteran batsman is likely to announce his retirement after the First Test itself. Coincidentally, the first Test is to be played in his home city of Hyderabad and thus it promises to be a perfect swansong for the 'Very Very Special' cricketer.
Laxman was batting's equivalent of Harry Houdini. With a swish and flick of his magic willow, Laxman conjured up graceful strokes with effortless ease. The 37 year old, who formed the core of India's illustrious middle order that boasted of the likes of the great Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul 'Wall' Dravid and Sourav 'Prince of Kolkata' Ganguly, elevated the art of batsmanship to an all new level with his scintillating stoke-play. The monumental contribution of the quartet undimmed by the passage of time sky rocketed India to Number 1 in the ultimate form of the game. To say VVS Laxman was India's stylist in strife is to say, Albert Einstein was a scientist; it tells a criminally bare story. The once medical aspirant was an undisputed master in dissecting bowling attacks with nonchalance.
8781 Test runs embellished 17 centuries stand testimony to his prowess with the highlight being his historic 281 that fashioned India's come from behind triumph after being forced to follow on at the sparkling Eden Gardens. That out of the world knock deserves to be projected as a shining example of committed and determined batsmanship. Laxman possessed the unique gift of being able to hit the same ball on either side of the wicket. Sweet timing, Sugar sweet timing! was the hallmark of Laxman's batting. His game was like a beautiful love story laced with a melodious ghazal.
However, VVS Laxman failed to crack the ODI format, scoring only 2338 runs in his short span of 86 matches.
He copped a barrage of criticism for his shoddy Test returns in Australia (154 runs in 8 innings). It is learnt that Laxman is hurt by the comments of the critics that he is blocking a youngster's pathway. In all likelihood, this might have essentially spurred on his decision to bid adieu.
Earlier this year, Laxman's favorite companion, Rahul Dravid called it a day following the twin debacles in England and Australia. Laxman's retirement will leave behind an irreplaceable void in India's batting line up. Let us stand up and salute the man, who put the team before self, humility before arrogance, hope before fear and challenge before rejection. Undeniably, he embodied Mahatma Gandhi's saying - 'In a gentle way you can shake the world'
VVS Laxman is more than a champion cricketer; he is a perfect role-model.
File Photograph Copyright: Hank Egberink
- 19/08/2012 13:07 - Toasting a Very Very Special cricketer - Laxman
- 18/08/2012 19:01 - Match evenly poised after three days of exhilarating cricket at Lord's
- 18/08/2012 17:37 - VVS Laxman announces immediate retirement from Test cricket