VVS Laxman bid farewell to international cricket in an emotional press conference in Hyderabad on Saturday (August 18). He began by reading out a written statement, and in the course of doing so almost broke down on more than one occasion. The full text of Laxman's statement:
Firstly I'd like to thank you all for coming here at just short notice. I really appreciate it. I'd like to announce my retirement from international cricket with immediate effect. 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. I've always kept the country's success and need ahead of my personal aspirations and hence while I'd have love to have been contributing to the team's success especially against England and Australia later in the season I think it's the right time to give the opportunity to a youngster in home conditions before obviously the tough overseas tours next year. As a youngster representing India was a dream for me and I'm very grateful to the almighty for blessing me to live my dream. I think very few in our country actually get that opportunity and I feel I'm blessed to have got this opportunity.
I've always felt that through cricket I've got an opportunity to serve the country and therefore took a lot of pride in wearing the India cap. I was fortunate to play in an era where the Indian cricket team played some of its best cricket not only at home but also overseas. I feel that I was very lucky that during this fabulous journey I had a lot of people who encouraged me and without them this journey wouldn't have been so memorable.
I would take this opportunity to sincerely thank all of them from the bottom of my heart starting with my parents Dr Shantaram and Dr Satyabhama for the upbringing they gave me which helped me face the various challengers and situations I faced in my career with equanimity. Also, and more importantly, for giving me the freedom and independence to pursue my passion of playing cricket.
My maternal uncle, Baba Krishna Mohan, who actually spotted talent in me and probably had the biggest influence on my life.
My wife Shailaja, who has been a pillar of strength to me since our marriage in 2004. She made a lot of sacrifices in her personal aspirations only to make sure I pursue my passion of playing cricket for the country with a free mind. She has almost single-handedly looked after my two lovely kids Sarvajith and Achintya as I was most of the time travelling with my cricket commitments.
My brother VVS Ramakrishna for all the love and affection he showered on me.
My childhood buddies Rajesh and Parth ... for the friendship they shared with me.
My teachers in Little Flower high school, especially our physical education sir Mr Jayprakash sir for all the encouragement he and the other teachers gave me early in my life.
My coaches at St John's Foundation for the support and guidance they gave me. My personal coach Ashok bhai for spending endless hours so that I could hone my skills.
I wholeheartedly thank the Hyderabad Cricket Association for recognising my talent and encouraging me especially at the start of my career. Also, the Board of Control for Cricket in India for giving me an opportunity to play for my country for nearly 16 years.
The National Cricket Academy in Bangalore where I spent a lot of my time especially in the last two years and specially to Ashish Kaushik the physio there, who really worked hard so that I could recover from my back problem.
All my coaches for the various teams I represented both at international and domestic level for motivating and encouraging me to become a consistent performer.
All the selectors for reposing faith in my abilities and giving me an opportunity to serve the country.
All the captains I played under for inspiring me most importantly all my teammates with whom I played and shared the best moments of my life. I was very fortunate to play with colleagues who took a lot of pride in theirs and the team's performance and most of them have become legends of the game. The affection, bonding and friendship they shared with me will be definitely cherished by me for the rest of my life.
All the physios, trainers who worked hard for keeping me fit.
All my friends from the media who have always supported me during my career, all my fans and well wishers from India and across the world for all the encouragement they showered on me right through this journey.
I always tried hard to give my best to the team while maintaining my dignity. There must have been times when I must have disappointed them but I can assure it was definitely not for lack of effort. I conclude in all humility by praying to Almighty to take and bless India cricket to reach the highest level in the world in all forms of the game.
Thank you all (chokes) once again. It's definitely been an emotional, fabulous and memorable journey which I will cherish for the rest of my life.