|VVS Laxman, in Hyderabad, on Saturday
Calcutta/New Delhi: The Indian cricket fraternity, on Saturday, respected VVS Laxman’s decision to hang up his boots, describing him as an exceptional cricketer who excelled under pressure.
Former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar hailed the stylish batsman for his outstanding career, saying that such a cricketer emerges once in a generation.
The following are excerpts (in alphabetical order):
Chandu Borde: He is one of the finest batsmen India have produced, one of the greats of the game… He is soft-spoken and a very good team man. Towards the latter part of his career, he was having some trouble with his back… But he overcame it. The innings he played at the Eden (in 2001 against Australia) was one of the finest I have seen. The Australians did not know where to bowl. It was a fantastic innings. I have rarely seen any batsman dominating the Australian attack the way he did.
Nari Contractor: He has done a very wise thing by retiring though people must be wondering why he did so after being selected. The selectors thought he should be picked but he must have felt it was time to give it up.
A few of his innings have been real gems. To have come up with such innings in times of crisis is always special. He has served Indian cricket really well.
Deep Dasgupta: To me, he is a ‘gentle monster’, a sweetheart and a thorough gentleman… He remains calm at the crease and lets others take the centrestage… He doesn’t play any risky shots, yet he scores plenty of runs. He is someone who could take the game away from the opponents at any time.
His greatest asset was that he was eager to learn from anyone. When I was a newcomer to the team, he once asked me: ‘How can you stay at the crease for so long?’ This shows that he is very down to earth… When a senior of his stature asks these questions to a youngster, it also helps in boosting the morale of the newcomer. He was also someone whom you could easily approach with any problem… He had time for everyone.
Ashok Dinda: Although I have never played with him, I have played against him in a few Indian Premier League (IPL) matches. It was one of my dreams to share the dressing room with him. Unfortunately, with his retirement, that dream will never be fulfilled. I distinctly remember the 2001 Test at the Eden when he scored 281. It was tough to get tickets for the last two days of the match… But luck was on my side as I was witness to that magnificent innings. It was absolutely inspirational. I will never forget the innings.
Devang Gandhi: Laxman has been a true servant of Indian cricket. I believe Indian cricket will be greatly benefited if they recruit him as a coach in the future. He has faced some of the best bowlers in the business and could help the young batsmen overcome a lot of challenges. In the 1999-2000 tour Down Under, Laxman was struggling with his form until he scored 167 in the second innings of the Sydney Test. On the eve of the innings, we went out for dinner, where I saw him hugely dejected and nervous. However, when he went into bat, he was a different person altogether. He was confident and composed and played a beautiful innings… Henceforth, he never looked back.
Arun Lal: V.V.S. Laxman’s decision to retire does not surprise me… I could see it coming… Although his retirement will leave a huge void in the middle order, it will give an opportunity for the selectors to groom a youngster… Laxman is a true gentleman and a great ambassador for the game. I greatly admire the quality in him of staying away from any controversy. During his 16-year career, he is one cricketer who never got embroiled in any controversy and played the game with dignity.
Bapu Nadkarni: I thought he would play the series against New Zealand. Why the suspense? He could have done it earlier. Anyway, he is one of the true champions of Indian batting.
Suresh Raina: From carrying his innings to carrying himself, he has shown immense class. Will miss you Laxman bhai
Virender Sehwag: He is one of the finest human beings to have played the game. One of the main pillars of the team and a true friend… Words are not enough to describe his talent.
Harbhajan Singh: Everyone knows that he was amazing at cricket… But he was surely the best human being I have ever met. God bless you with all the happiness in future.
Krishnamachari Srikkanth: We respect his decision to retire with immediate effect. We wish him and his family all the best. He was a team player. He played with great deal of pride for his country. He won many matches for the country and his contribution has been immense.
Dilip Vengsarkar: Laxman has had an outstanding career. He is one of the few batsmen who had the great ability to chase runs — an art only a few could master. A player like him comes once in a generation.
Manoj Tiwary: He is an inspiration for all cricketers.
Meanwhile, Australian captain Michael Clarke also reacted to Laxman’s retirement. He said: “Congrats to VVS Laxman on an amazing career.”