Laxman last played an ODI in 2006 but had, by then, become a regular in the Test side and played his 100th Test in 2008, against Australia in Nagpur. Laxman made six of his 17 Test centuries against Australia, with an average of 49.67 in 29 Tests and success both home and away. Srikkanth drew the laxmnrekha for him and he did not want to go beyond it. So he left the ground crestfallen, but with his head ever held high.
The inside story is not known. But there are wild guesses all around. Probably, Laxman was compelled to accept the condition of playing the New Zealand series as his farewell series. It was a humiliation for a cricketer of outstanding career as Laxman is. He never expected much and did his best for rising to the need of the Indian team. Laxman played unselfishly and has contributed immensely whenever the team wants of him.
Test cricket would be boring without the great team player who always kept his country’s success and need ahead of everything personal. He played with great deal of pride for his country. But the reward given by the ICCI selectors might have hurt him. The decision wounded the feelings of his thousands of cricket fans who were mesmerized by his art of playing for India are simply astonished. He was great enough to sacrifice his personal expectations on the altar of requirements of Team India. All passions are now spent and calm of mind seems to prevail.
At the time of announcement of his retirement, he was dressed in a sharp formal suit with his wife listening to him with moistened eyes. But Laxman looked confident and serene. He was never unruly and he never spit chewing gums on the cricket ground, Nor did he chew gums during the playing of national anthem, but the way he had to go was really painful. Out of so much grief untold and sorrows unexpressed, he turned down the opportunity to play International Cricket in his hometown only to give a silent rebuff to those who humiliated him.
His announcement of retirement was a hot topic of controversy now as he was to play for the Indian squad for the home series against New Zealand starting next week although in his opinion it was the right time to give the youngsters a chance in home conditions ahead of international assignments coming up next year. It was a tough decision to take, something similar that happened to Dravid and Ganguly. Saurav Ganguly who was nearly heckled by the Indian Cricket Board and the Selection Committee that time now took sides with Laxman. But Laxman tried to save their face and justified his retirement by saying that he had listened to his inner conscience for taking his decision.
The inner story seemed to be a different one from that meets the face. Chairman of selectors, Krishnamachari Srikkanth, who will retire next month, is now being focused for his foul role in Laxman's retirement although outwardly the Chairman praised Laxman for his great contribution to International cricket on behalf of India. Saurav and Rahul Dravid had to go earlier. All of them won many matches for the country and all these cricketers too had to go before their time.
In Saurav Ganguly’s opinion, the selectors' judgement has hurt Laxman the most. Srikkanth's selection policy would be detrimental to Indian cricket's progress. By mere balancing, the Indian team cannot perform well. Srikkanth did not have the communication skills to deal with seniors. He drew the Laxmanrekha and Laxman felt suffocated to stay within it. The decision is taken, to bid adieu to International Cricket.