Laxman is likely to retire after NZ Test series

New Delhi: India`s star batsman VVS Laxman is contemplating retirement from international cricket after the two-Test series against New Zealand starting August 23 in Hyderabad.

It is learnt that the veteran of 134 Tests will be addressing the media in a day or two to announce his decision to call time on his illustrious 16-year international career although there has been no official confirmation from the BCCI or the Hyderabad Cricket Association so far.

The 37-year-old batsman, who formed the core of India`s famed middle-order that had Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly, ruled world cricket for more than a decade with his wristy stroke-making.

It was the contribution of this famed quartet that helped India to gradually make progress in Test matches and get to the No 1 in the ICC Test rankings. He scored 8781 runs with 17 Test centuries with highlight being the epic knock of 281 against Australia where India won the Test match after being made to follow on. He has a Test average of 45.97.

Laxman was not a regular in India`s ODI team and played 83 matches for 2338 runs with six centuries.

The most disappointing aspect of his glorious career would be his failure of not playing in any of the four World Cup editions during his career span.

There has been intense speculation regarding the future of the Hyderabadi stylist after he managed a meagre 154 runs in eight innings during India`s disastrous tour of Australia.

It is also learnt that Laxman has been hurt by the constant criticism following his failure in the last two series and comments by critics that he should give way to youngsters.

Laxman`s tour of England was also dissappointing and calls for retirement reached crescendo after India`s eight consecutive Test losses.

While there was always a chance that Laxman would bow out from the scene at his homeground in Hyderabad but the national selection committee named the squad for the two Test matches – the second of which starts in Bangalore from August 31.

With Laxman`s retirement, only Sachin Tendulkar will remain among the golden generation of Indian cricketers after the retirements of Anil Kumble, Ganguly and Dravid.

He earned the nickname of `Very Very Special` after his knock of 281 but his stupendous record against Australia, which clearly was the best team during his playing days makes him a class apart. He scored as many as six centuries against the Australians – all of which were hallmark of his greatness.

In 2010, Laxman played yet another defining innings – an unbeaten knock of 73 against Australia at Mohali. He was suffering from acute back spasms and had to bat with a runner and he guided India to an improbable victory by playing alongside No 10 batsman Ishant Sharma.

During the second phase of his career, he turned batting with tail-enders into an art. He missed out on many centuries as he had to bat with the lower order.

His innings of 96 against South Africa in Durban in 2010 was another effort worth remembering as he played against the likes of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel. That innings set up an Indian victory.