Former Indian batsman VVS Laxman had an illustrious career in Test cricket after he made his debut in 1996 against South Africa in Ahmedabad. His career spanned 16 years and he hung his boots after India’s series against Australia in 2011-12. The tour turned out to be horrendous for the visiting team as they were clean swept in the four-match series. The campaign wasn’t a memorable one for Laxman too.
He could only manage 155 runs from four matches at a dismal average of 19.37. Later that year India were scheduled to host New Zealand and Laxman was set to play in the Test series. However, the experienced campaigner took everyone by surprise and decided to bid adieu to the sport. He had the chance of quitting after the opening Test in Hyderabad- his home ground-, but that, unfortunately, wasn’t the case.
When asked whether he had communicated the same to MS Dhoni or not, he said that he couldn’t reach him. The developments thereafter sparked rumours that Laxman left owing to a rift with the then Indian captain. Recently, the 44-year-old released his autobiography ‘281 and Beyond’ in which he mentioned that Dhoni wasn’t responsible for his retirement and rather he has always respected him for his nature.
He took one look at me and burst out laughing
“After I informed the media of my decision to retire, the questions flowed. ‘Have you informed your teammates?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Have you spoken to Dhoni, what did he have to say?’ ‘Everyone knows how difficult it is to reach Dhoni,’ I joked. Little did I realise that this would trigger the first and only controversy of my cricketing career,” Laxman mentioned in his book.
“I had unwittingly provided fodder to the media, who started to speculate that I had retired in a huff because MS and I had differences, that there was a rift between us. It wasn’t funny at the time, but one of the headlines the following day read, ‘VVS, retired hurt’. I waited for the end of the Test and then went to the hotel to thank every teammate and member of the support staff individually.
When I met MS, he took one look at me and burst out laughing. ‘Laxman bhai, you are not used to all these controversies, but I am. Don’t take this to heart. We all know that sometimes, facts need not come in the way of a good story.’ I was once again struck by his maturity, his simplicity, and how easily he had put me at ease,” he added.