Hyderabad: VVS Laxman's decision to retire with immediate effect didn't just surprise the cricketing fraternity but also shocked his better half Sailaja, who was left wondering how the veteran would do without his "first wife".
"I was taken aback [when Laxman first conveyed his decision] because his aim was to beat Australia and England in India. So,we were expecting him to play till Australia series.
It was quite a surprise," a teary-eyed Sailaja said at the press conference in which Laxman decided to call it quits from international cricket Saturday.
"But, he listened to his inner consciousness. That's what matters more," she added.
Replying to a query, she said she would have liked to see him continue playing for some more time.
"Definitely. Like other well wishers, we were expecting him to play till the Australian series. His aim was to beat Australia and England in the home series. Because, they [India] could not perform well," she said.
Laxman would, however, definitely miss playing cricket as the game is his "first wife", she said.
Describing Laxman as philosophical and religious, she said her husband follows the tenets of Bhagwad Gita.
"Laxman's grand-father late Jagannadha Sastry Garu breathed, preached and lived Bhagwad Gita. He hails from such a family. He follows whatever is written in Bhagwad Gita. I am proud to be his wife. His humility and righteous character amazes me," she said.
Sailaja said she is glad that Laxman will be around to spend time post-retirement with family members, especially children as they used to miss him earlier.
Laxman's uncle Baba Krishna Mohan, who first took him to a cricket camp, said he would have liked to see him continue playing.
Stating that he was surprised by Laxman's sudden decision, Venkatapathi Raju said he would have liked Laxman to retire after playing a Test on his home-ground. The right-hander could have done that as he was picked for the two-Test series against New Zealand, one match of which is scheduled in Hyderabad.
"We expected him to play this match or Bangalore match.
"This is real shocker for us. We had plans for him like felicitation. But, Laxman has been like that right from the beginning.
"All the plans are still there but it would have been better had he continued. You feel bad but you respect his decision. Like his batting style, he has given a good flick for everybody," he said.
The comments of some commentators against Laxman that he should make way for young players were a little harsh as the senior player had made immense contribution to the game by coming up with some superb knocks during his career, he said.
"My own feeling is that he could have performed better Laxman had his own slot for him in the batting order. Laxman was all over. He had to play with tail-enders. Sometimes, he could not play his natural game. He had to mould himself to situations. But as he himself said, it is all a part and parcel of the game," he said.