Laxman shared his plans forf starting a school and a sports academy with students of the GRD School of Commerce and International Business in Coimbatore

V.V.S. Laxman’s heart is full, having played his part with finesse for the country. But the stylish Hyderabadi batsman, who hung his boots last year, wants to play the second innings of his career with equal measure. For education.

Laxman shared his plans of starting a school and a sports academy with the students during the Face-to-Face at the GRD School of Commerce and International Business here on Thursday.

Academy

“It is my dream. I want to set up a school with sound infrastructure and, with it, promote lots of activities. The Academy will feature various disciplines but my primary focus will be on cricket. I believe sports will help build character.”

Why a school? “Because, I am passionate about education. I am lucky because I learnt a lot through cricket. I learnt from both the good and bad experiences on and off the field. And, I am very proud that my cricketing life helped me progress as a person,” said Laxman, who gave up pursuing a career in medicine for cricket.

“My parents are doctors. Obviously, they wanted me to become one. And, I almost got enrolled in a medical college but then I made the toughest decision in my life – to become a cricketer. It was a big gamble but it paid off,” he added.

Laxman did not wish to chase anybody’s dream except his own. “Knowing what you want to be is important and I did that pretty early. I grabbed all the opportunities that came my way and, by 17, started playing for Hyderabad. I am not from a wealthy family. So coming up from there and playing the game for my country for almost 16 years was a great achievement. If I can do it from a background which had no evidence for cricket then all of you can achieve likewise,” he said.

He played the role of a smooth operator right through.

He showed terrific temperament when required and cut, flicked and glided with grace much to the delight of the crowd.

Later, Laxman spoke about the three D’s and the one ‘P’ that he followed religiously in life.

“They are decision-making, dedication and determination. These are the qualities that separate the ordinary from the extraordinary. ‘P’ is the pride in the every move you make. We had it in us – the pride of doing something for our country and that is what took Indian cricket forward as well.”

A good timer of the ball, the ‘Very, Very Special’ Laxman said he always wanted to be a leader. “My role model was my dad but my favourite leader was the Mahatma [Gandhi]. He preached non violence but had the power in him and quite easily earned the support of his countrymen. From the cricketing point of view, Sachin is right up there. Both share the same quality. They had no egos and did not look for post or position.”

In terms of competitive cricket, “who was the toughest bowler you had faced,” a student asked. Pat came the reply: “Wasim Akram” (the former left-arm fast bowler from Pakistan).

Laxman urged the students to become good leaders. “Because, I believe good leaders can change the world.”