Mumbai: Former and current cricketers expressed surprise but were full of praise for VVS Laxman after the middle-order batsman decided to retire from international cricket.
Former cricketer Bapu Nadkarni said that, "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."
Former middle order batsman Chandu Borde was also a bit puzzled at the announcement by Laxman, who has amassed over 8781 runs from 134 Tests and 2338 from 86 ODIs, and said that he is one of the greats of the game and someone who rattled the Australian bowlers.
"He is one of the finest batsmen India has produced, one of the greats of the game, soft spoken and a very good team man," Borde said.
"Towards the latter part of his career he was having some trouble with his back, but still overcame it. The innings he played in Kolkata (in 2001 against Australia) was one of the finest I have seen. The Australians did not know where to bowl. It (epic innings of 281) was a fantastic innings. I have rarely seen any batsman dominating the Australian attack the way he did," Borde said.
Former captain Nari Contractor said the decision of Laxman was right though some people may wonder about the timing as he had been picked by the selectors for the upcoming Tests against New Zealand.
"He has done a very wise thing 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," Contractor said.
Dilip Vengsarkar said Laxman is a cricketer who emerges once in a generation. "Laxman has had an outstanding career. He is one of the few batsman who was a great chaser, an art only a few could master," Vengsarkar stated.
Chief selector K Srikkanth said Laxman's contribution to team's success was immense. "We respect his decision to retire with immediate effect. We wish him and his family all the best after retirement. He was a team player. he played with great deal of pride for his country. He won many matches for the country. His contribution has been great," Srikkanth said.
(With inputs from PTI)