VVS Laxman: Most graceful batsman may quit next month
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The second and final cricket Test of the New Zealand series next month may be the last time the world sees the game's most graceful batsman in action.
VVS Laxman is expected to retire from all forms of the game after the August 31-September 4 Test in Bangalore. Though the Hyderabad batsman hasn't made a statement, those close to him say that the 37-year-old has made up his mind to hang his boots.
The opening Test of the series starts in Hyderabad on August 23. Like other seniors in the side, Laxman's game had come under scrutiny after India's two successive series losses in England and Australia last season. During the consecutive 4-0 away humiliations, the middle-order batsman scored just three 50s in 16 innings. However, in the home series against West Indies, sandwiched between the two debacles, he had a match-winning knock of 176 at Eden Gardens.
Nursing a bad back for several years now, Laxman, 37, has been preparing for the New Zealand tour. In a pre-season domestic tournament, he scored a fine 149 for Hyderabad.
It is learnt that the adverse comments in the media, after he was picked for the New Zealand series, were a factor in Laxman's decision to quit. A few former players had hinted that it was time he made way for a youngster. "He was hurt and that's when he had a talk with family and friends about his future. It was a tough call to take," says someone who Laxman consulted before taking the call.
With him not a part of the Indian Premier League, Bangalore will see Laxman's last walk to the pavilion.
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