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India batsman VVS Laxman likely to retire after New Zealand series

Hurt by criticism of form, the veteran batsman is close to announcing his decision.

VVS Laxman has played in 134 Tests for India. Tony Ashby / AFP
VVS Laxman has played in 134 Tests for India. Tony Ashby / AFP

VVS Laxman, the India batsman, is considering retirement after the two-Test series against New Zealand, the first of which gets underway on Thursday.

Laxman, who has scored 8,781 runs, 17 centuries and 56 half-centuries across 134 Tests since he made his debut in 1996, is expected to make an announcement either tomorrow or the day after, as reported in the Indian media.

The classy middle-order batsman, who will turn 38 on November 1, was reportedly disappointed to read comments in the media that he was denying future batsmen a chance to play Test cricket by refusing to retire, according to the Times of India.

Laxman told The Hindu he had been contemplating retirement after talking to members of his family and circle of friends.

The Hindu also reported that Laxman was initially averse to playing in the series against New Zealand but a chance to play in his native Hyderabad – where he has only played in one Test – had led him to reconsider the timing of his retirement.

Hyderabad will host the first Test from Thursday to August 27 and the second match will be played in Bangalore from August 31 to September 4.

Pressure has been intense for Laxman to quit international cricket, having only scored 1,086 runs in his last 18 Tests, averaging 36.20, a far cry from his career average of 45.97.

India's dismal Test tours of England and Australia in 2011/12 was followed by criticism of the ageing players, most notably Laxman. If he does retire, he will follow in the steps of Rahul Dravid who quit this year.

Laxman also did well in one-day internationals, having scored 2,338 runs in 86 matches at an average of 30.76. He also stroked six hundreds and 10 fifties. Not a bad record for a man who was not considered cut out for 50-over cricket or any of the four World Cup competitions between 1996 and 2007.

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