Sunday, August 19, 2012

Magician VVS Laxman retires...... sinking the hearts of his fans


He has been a throughbred gentleman  and he has surprised everyone including his supporters.    We know  the end was in sight, that he would have to retire soon, especially after one poor series in Australia,  but all of us were thinking that he would retire regally at his own ground, perhaps after making a hundred – he had his own ideas – stepping down when everyone is asking ‘Why’ rather than ‘when’ or ‘why not still’………… 

He has been extremely humble and friendly person and in his farewell speech, he thanked all his teammates with whom he played and shared the best moments of my life.  He supported the media, fans, well-wishers and left out none. He spoke of giving his best all the times and stated that when his fans were disappointed, it was never due to lack of effort and we all know, how true the statement is and how sincere he has been.   He said in his emotional speech “  I conclude in all humility, by praying to the Almighty, to take Indian cricket to the highest level in the world in all forms of the game.”   That is Vangivarappu Venkatsai Laxman -  who announced his retirement from international cricket with immediate effect, ending a 16-year career that will be remembered for several innings of extreme grace under extreme pressure. Laxman, 37, had been included in India's squad for the home series against New Zealand starting next week but said he took the decision over the past few days.

In his 134 Tests, he scored 8781 runs, only fourth after  Sachin Tendulkar (15,470 runs), Rahul Dravid(13,265) and Sunil Gavaskar (10,122).  In that he scored 17 centuries; 7 of them coming in the 47 tests when he was in the winning team; furthermore he scored 3 centuries in the 2nd innings off the 12 wins that came along – remarkable indeed. 

His love for Calcutta – Eden Gardens is too well known – not only that fine 281 but he made 1217 runs in 10 tests at anaverage of astonishing 110.63 with 5 centuries.  The only other batsman to make 1000 runs in a single venue is Sunil Gavaskar who made them at Chepauk and Wankhede.  Indian batsmen generally don't get the opportunity to play too many Tests at a single ground, due to the high number of Test grounds in India, but Laxman is  right there.   His average in the second innings (48.88) is more than in the first (44.25) which not many possess; some of them in that list would have made runs in dreary 4th innings when game would have been ending for a draw.    
                                
Laxman has the Padma Shri and Arjuna Award to his credit in recognition of his outstanding achievement in sports.    For a batsman of Laxman's calibre and talent, a limited-overs career of 86 matches in eight-and-a-half years (April 1998-December 2006), is by all accounts, a disappointing and unfulfilled one. In those matches, Laxman scored 2338 runs, including six centuries and 10 half-centuries at an average of 30.76 and a strike rate of 71.23.
the final stroke on ground : Laxman's family 
photo courtesy : yahoo.co.in

Dressed in a sharp, formal suit, Laxman made his announcement in a conference room at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, in Uppal to the north east of his home city, Hyderabad. Several members of family, including his parents, wife and two children, were present at the function.  Australians would be smiling and Steve Waugh would have wished that this came a decade earlier or so.  Sure India would miss the wristy, gentle, committed test cricketer

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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