Did VVS Laxman retire hurt?
Vangipurappu Venkata Sai Laxman is the fourth of Team India's Fab Five to call it a day, after Anil Kumble, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid.
While Kumble announced his retirement in 2008 just before the second Test against Australia in Mohali, Ganguly followed suit by calling it quits. The fourth and final Test against the Aussies in Nagpur, but Dravid went on to play till the disastrous tour of Australia earlier this year and decided to hang up his boots on his return.
For the Hyderabadi stylish batsman, who has been picked for the Test series against New Zealand, the timing is perhaps the only thing that may have surprised one and all. Had he announced his decision a week ago, the embarrassment for the selectors could have been avoided. The five wise men — Krishnamachari Srikkanth, Mohinder Amarnath, Narendra Hirwani, Surendra Bhave and Raja Venkat — will now have to pick a replacement for the elegant right-hander ahead of the first Test, which is barely four days away.
“I wonder why he waited so long to announce his retirement if he had made up his mind. He could have informed the selectors about his decision well ahead of the selection meeting so that this embarrassment could have been avoided,” a source in the selection committee told SUNDAY MiD DAY yesterday.
“When Rahul decided to retire, he called all the selectors three to four days before to inform them about his decision, but Laxman didn’t utter a word in the last month or so,” he added.
A Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) official, however, revealed that the decision was spurred by comments made by the media and a few former cricketers. “His decision to pull out of the home series, and most importantly, the first Test in Hyderabad, has something to read between the lines.
It shows how deeply hurt the cricketer is because of the adverse comments by the senior cricketers,” the official said.
“Similar things happened to Anil and Sourav which made them take the drastic step and announce their retirements out of the blue,” the source added.
However, one of Manoj Tiwary, Rohit Sharma and Subramaniam Badrinath will replace Laxman in the 15-member squad to play the first Test against New Zealand in Hyderabad from August 23. Tiwary, it is learnt, is ahead in the race.