The retirement of VVS Laxman from international cricket did not come as a surprise to India’s sporting public considering he had a poor tour of Australia. But his decision to give it all up with immediate effect was astonishing. It was a selfless call, one that sits well with the man’s good nature — the perfect gentlemanly cricketer if ever there was.
While the cricketing world waxes eloquent on his batting skills and labour the point about how he went about playing his best-loved game, it is important not to get emotional about his exit, however extraordinary his decision was.
One of the theories doing the rounds is that Laxman was hurt at comments made by the media and former players.
To blame them is childish, because when someone parades his skills at the international level, he is bound to be judged on how useful he is to the side and the country’s future.
Laxman was a class act, who didn’t need to score a big century to change the course of a Test match. The 281 he scored against Steve Waugh’s Australians at Kolkata in 2001 was the best Test innings played by an Indian.
But the fact is that he didn’t fare well on the last two tours to England and Australia where India lost all four Tests in each series.
When India got a shellacking in Australia, most pundits wanted Laxman to be tapped on the shoulder by the selectors. Now, he seems to be getting all the sympathy. The all-important need is for Indian cricket to grow. The team would do with some fresh legs. This does not mean Laxman is a bad player. It’s just that all good things have an end.
Well played Laxman. Now, we have to move on. There’s a two-Test battle against the New Zealanders to be won!