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Laxman stuns cricket world with immediate retirement
Bangalore, Aug 18, 2012, DHNS:
The brusque manner in which V V S Laxman, one of the pillars of the Indian middle order, ended his international career on Saturday, will lead to some uncomfortable questions from several quarters.
The gravity of the situation increased manifold since Laxman decided to quit after being picked for the Test series against New Zealand.
On the face of it, Laxman made a wise decision to move ahead after his failures in the overseas series against England last year and Australia in 2011-12, a period that also saw India losing eight consecutive Test matches. Usually, a worthy performer on foreign soil, Laxman managed just three fifties (Lord’s, Nottingham and Sydney) over the eight Test matches.
It might have hurt the proud competitior in him to no end, but signs were clear that Laxman was ready to grind out another season, putting the recent turmoil behind him.
The Hyderabadi stylist stroked his way to a majestic 169 against KSCA XI for his home State in the Safi Darashah memorial All-India invitational trophy at Mysore recently.
Besides that, the senior batsman was a regular at the National Cricket Academy, preparing his body for the hectic schedule ahead—10 Test matches at home against New Zealand, England and Australia to be precise.
There was no evidence till a few days ago that Laxman might call time on his glittering career till the news broke on Friday that he was contemplating retiring from international cricket.
The announcement came on the day, and not surprisingly, Laxman was calm and dignified, attributing his retirement to his desire to make way for youngsters at the Test level. Perhaps, a few syndicated columns written by two former Indian cricketers — Sanjay Manjrekar and Sunil Gavaskar — might have prompted a sensitive person like Laxman to reach the decision quicker than expected.
But more than the write-ups, the attitude of the selectors and the Board of Control for Cricket in India might be questioned. When India and Laxman were going through a bad phase in Australia some months ago, selectors and the Board assured the right-hander that he could play as long as he wished. But, perhaps things didn’t transpire smootly enough between the selectors and Laxman.
Not one to mince words, Sourav Ganguly, former skipper and Laxman’s one-time team-mate, lashed out at the selectors. “A player like Laxman would not train so hard just to keep himself fit for two Tests. If they (selectors) conveyed their opinion to Laxman earlier, this situation would not have surfaced. Why did they stretch this till August?
Probably, the selectors’ judgment has hurt him (Laxman) the most,” Ganguly said. “By not waiting for a farewell series, Laxman has sent out a strong message to the selectors.”