Vangipurapu Venkata Sai Laxman popularly known as V. V.S. Laxman, has announced his retirement from cricket, with immediate effect. He was selected in the Test team to play against New Zealand and one of the Tests was to be played in his home town Hyderabad. It would have been a fitting farewell to his illustrious career.
It is obvious that lurking at the back of Laxman's mind is the criticism regarding his selection, inspite of suffering from poor form in 2011 Test matches. In the four Tests against Australia he averaged less than 20 and in equal number of Tests against England scored only 182 runs.
The 37 year old stylish batsman was under pressure to make way for younger batsmen after the retirement of Rahull Dravid and earlier on Saurabh Ganguly. In a career spanning over sixteen years, he played in 134 Tests and scored many a memorable match winning innings.
Laxman played his first Test match against South Africa in Ahmedabad in 1966, scoring a fifty in the second innings. He had to wait for four years to hit his first Test century. In January 2000, he scored a memorable 167 in the third and final Test at Sydney, when all other batsmen failed against the hostile pace of Glen McGarth.
In the 2001 series aginst Australia played in India, Laxman established himself as a class batsman. In the now, historic second Test at Kolkatta, Laxman went on to score a mammoth 281in the second innings, when India were following on and were on the verge of defeat. Together with Dravid (180) the partnership scored a record 376 runs and India won the Test.
It was only the third time in Test history that a team following on had gone on to win a Test match. The win also broke the record of Australia's consecutive sixteen Test wins and captain Steve Waugh was left wondering what had gone wrong. The Wisden's Cricketer's Almanack has ranked it as the sixth best Test innings ever. The match also saw S,hane Warne trying to contain Laxman from scoring but without success only to admit later on that he was simply clueless. In the next Test at Chennai Laxman scored 65 and 66 and India won the Test and won the series 2-1. It was Laxman's career high point .
Laxman went on to score another double century against the Australians at the Delhi Test in the 2007/08 series when he scored an unbeaten 200 in the first Innings. In all he scored five Test centuries against the Australians, three of them at the Sydney Test Ground making him a very popular player amongst the Australian crowds.
Like the other famous Hyderabadi batsmen Jaisimha and Azharuddin, he too was a wristy player and his flicks on the leg side were a treat to watch. He was a very stylish batsman and was very modest about his achievments with the bat.
He is an Arjun Awardee(2001),Wisden Cricketer of the Year(2002) and Padma Shri(2011) recepient.
He played in 134 Tests scoring 8781 runs with 17 centuries and 56 half centuries and held 135 catches.He became Man of the Match six times.
He played in 86 ODI's scoring 2338 runs hitting six centuries and ten fifties and holding 39 catches.He was adjudged Man of Match four times.
For somene whose both parents were doctors and himself was a medical student the career choice of cricket over medicine was indeed a very wise choice.
Farewell Laxman. It was a pleasure watching you play.
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