Hyderabad: India batsman VVS Laxman announced his retirement from international cricket on Saturday, saying it was "time to move on" despite his selection for the two-Test series against New Zealand.

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The 37-year-old said he would step down with "immediate effect" during a news conference in his home city of Hyderabad, where India host the Kiwis in the opening test on Thursday.

"It's been 16 years since I made my international debut for India and I feel it's the right time for me to move on," Laxman told reporters in a trembling voice.

Laxman scored 8781 runs in 134 Tests, including 17 hundreds.

His recent form, however, has been poor and clamour had grown in the Indian media to replace the side's ageing batting stalwarts following 4-0 series whitewashes in England and Australia.

"I have always kept the country's success and needs ahead of my personal aspirations and I would have loved to contribute to the team's success especially against England and Australia later in the season," Laxman said.

"I think it's the right time to give opportunity to a youngster in home conditions before the tough overseas tours next year."

Former India captain Rahul Dravid was the first of the senior batsmen to retire from the longer format after the team slumped to eight consecutive Test defeats away from home.

Sachin Tendulkar is the last from the golden generation of Indian batsmen to still play for the country.

Inner Voice

His decision to let go of the opportunity to hang up his boots in front of his home crowd baffled many, but Laxman said he listened to his inner voice.

"It has been a very tough decision for me. Late until last night I was not able to make up my mind," he said.

"I have always listened to my inner conscience. It was also one reason why I took cricket as a career. I always wanted to become a doctor.

"At the age of 17, my inner voice said that I want to become a cricketer which was definitely a tougher career path. But I listened to that inner voice which I consider a divine voice."

Laxman, who also scored six hundreds in 86 one-day internationals, will be best remembered for his knock of 281 in the second innings against Australia at Kolkata's Eden Gardens in 2001 which helped India beat the tourists after following on.

The victory also stalled the marauding run of Steve Waugh's men, who had won 16 tests in succession.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BBCI) president N. Srinivasan described Laxman as one of his country's best.

"Not many batsmen made batting look as easy as VVS Laxman. He was an exceptional cricketer, who excelled in pressure situations," N. Srinivasan said in a statement.

"If a cricketer's greatness is to be measured in terms of his performances against the best opposition of his time, then Laxman stands right at the top.

"His record against Australia, the world's number one team for the better part of his career, speaks for itself."


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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.


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