One of the finest batsmen in contemporary cricket, VVS Laxman, is contemplating retirement, at the most, by the end of the two-Test series against New Zealand.

Visibly hurt by the comments that by continuing to play for India he is blocking the chances of youngsters, a disappointed Laxman is now contemplating retirement from cricket and is expected to make a formal announcement either tomorrow or the day after.

For the record, the 37-year-old Laxman made his Test debut in 1996 against South Africa and since then played 134 Tests scoring 8781 runs, including 17 centuries and 56 fifties. He also played 86 ODIs scoring 2338 runs with six hundreds.

Initially, he was not even keen on playing the two Tests against New Zealand - the first one to be held in Hyderabad from August 23 and the next one in Bangalore - Laxman reluctantly seemed to have agreed to play in the two matches and then bid adieu on the advice of his well-wishers. Incidentally, this will be only his second Test in front of home crowd in Hyderabad when he plays against New Zealand.

Laxman informed The Hindu that the retirement plans are being discussed by him with his parents, family members, coaches and close friends. "A final decision will be taken about the exact details of my plans by this evening," he said.

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