There was a tinge of sadness. The tear in the eye and the visages all around said it all. Everyone who heard Sachin Tendulkar’s farewell speech were sucked into a whirlpool of emotions. At one stage when the little master singled out VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble, the elegant Hyderabadi batsman must have gone nostalgic, reminiscing the moments he spent at the crease with Sachin.
A fleeting thought also must have crossed his mind, of a similar farewell he had missed out when he had announced his retirement. Looking back, Laxman certainly should have bowed out in more deserving manner than what was accorded to him.
It is a year or more since Laxman had announced his sudden retirement from international cricket. It took everyone by surprise. There were persistent requests to postpone the retirement, or at least quit after the first Test at Hyderabad between India and New Zealand (August 23 to 27) but Laxman was firm in his decision.
“I have always felt that I have got the opportunity to serve my country and have played the best cricket not only in India but overseas as well. I think it is time to give youngsters a chance at home ahead of a tough season. I have always kept the country’s success ahead of personal aspirations,’’ he had said while announcing his retirement then.
But many perhaps feel that Laxman should have played in the Hyderabad Test and could have got a warm farewell. According to sources, Laxman deserved a grand send-off. Perhaps, during Sachin Tendulkar’s last Test at Wankhede Stadium, this gentleman cricketer would have felt missing this occasion. “I do have regrets. But my decision was final,’’ said Laxman.
But a few cricketers felt that Hyderabad Cricket Association could have risen to the occasion.