It is the end of a glorious chapter in Indian cricket. When the ‘Very Very Special Laxman’ walked across the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium on Saturday evening along with his family members, it was perhaps the most emotional stroll at any cricketing venue for this gifted cricketer in his 16-year long career. For, he soon announced his retirement from international cricket with immediate effect.
The sun slowly setting down was perhaps symbolic of the quiet adieu of someone who is one of the country’s cricketing greats for all his memorable, match-winning efforts.
BCCI vice-president N. Shivlal Yadav did try to convince him to play at least the first Test in Hyderabad against New Zealand starting from August 23 and give the fans the chance to accord a grand farewell.
Former India left-arm spinner S.L. Venkatapathi Raju too was seen in animated discussion with Laxman, accompanied by HCA secretary M.V. Sridhar.
But, it was soon obvious that the star cricketer had decided to answer the call of destiny – quit, with no strings attached. As he entered the conference room in front of a crowded media, Laxman walked across to first greet his personal coach Ashok Singh, then former Ranji Trophy star Jyothi Prasad and many well-wishers with warmth.
Family in attendance
With the entire family in attendance, including his brother Ramakrishna and maternal uncle Baba Mohan (the person who Laxman says has the biggest influence on him), it was a sober announcement from the batsman who was a delight to watch when at his best.
The proceedings began in a befitting manner when Laxman’s epic 281 against the Australians in 2001 was replayed to rekindle memories of a magnificent career. “Well, even now when you watch, you get inspired. It was a great Test match and a great Test series,” were the humble comments of Laxman -- a great cricketer and a terrific gentleman.