VVS Laxman announces retirement from international cricket

Earlier, the 37-year-old Laxman, announced his retirement from international cricket with immediate effect.

VVS Laxman with wife and children
before a press conference
Laxman, who earned the sobriquet 'Very Very Special' for his style and flair, played 134 Tests, amassing 8,781 runs at an average of 45.97. He scored 17 hundreds and 56 half centuries in the longer format of the game. The Hyderabadi has always had a pair of safe hands and has pouched 135 Test catches too.

However, question marks over his form had been raised following his disappointing performances on India's tour to Australia earlier this year, and the right-hander has now decided to end his international career.

"I have decided to retire from international cricket with immediate effect," Laxman said.

"It's been 16 years since I have made my international debut for India and I think it is the right time to move on.
As a youngster it was a dream to represent India and it took a lot of pride to wear the India cap."

Laxman, who was picked in the Indian squad for the two-match Test series against New Zealand beginning here from August 23, surprisingly chose to hang his boots with immediate effect without taking the opportunity to bow out of international cricket in front of his home crowd.

Laxman's Test career got off to a dream start when he made a half-century on his debut against South Africa in November 1996, although he would have to wait until January 2000 to score his maiden century - the first of six he would make against Australia.

In 2001 Laxman produced one of the most memorable innings of all time as his career-best 281 led India to victory after they were asked to follow-on by Australia in Kolkata.

Laxman also made 200, again against Australia, in a drawn Test in Delhi in 2008, while in November of the same year he made his 100th Test outing against the Australians in Nagpur.

In 2010, Laxman played yet another defining innings ---an unbeaten knock of 73 against Australia at Mohali. He was suffering from acute back spasms and had to bat with a runner and he guided India to an improbable victory by playing alongside No 10 batsman Ishant Sharma.

Laxman, who was not a regular in India's ODI team, played 86 matches for an aggregate of 2338 at an average of 30.76. Unfortunately for him, he could never be a part of India's World Cup campaigns which remains one of his biggest regrets.

Doubts over Laxman's international future surfaced earlier this year when he turned in a lamentable performance in India's 4-0 whitewash at the hands of Australia, the batsman failing to get past two runs in four of eight innings.
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Olympic badminton: Saina brings India third medal


Saina Nehwal won India its third medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games, after being declared the winner in the women's badminton play-off for the bronze medal after her Chinese opponent Wang Xin withdrew with an injured knee. And the news became sweeter with Indian boxer Devendro Singh's entry into the Men's Light Flyweight quarter-finals.

Saina's opponent Wang, the World No. 2, won the first game despite the injury she suffered at the end of it. She won the first game 21-18, but before claiming the final point, she strained her knee. Wang received medical attention before claiming the game, but broke down soon into the second game – with the score 1-0 in her favour - before she hobbled off the court.

Saina saved four game points in a dramatic fightback in the first game and was 18-20 when left-handed Xin twisted her knee while going for an acrobatic smash from the baseline. She took on-court treatment for the injury after that.
But after winning the first game and the opening point of the second, Xin could not continue and was soon seen shaking hands with Saina with a wince. Saina thus became the first Indian badminton player to win a medal at the Olympic Games. She had reached the quarter-finals at the Beijing Games four years ago.
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Vijay Kumar wins silver to give India second medal


India’s Vijay Kumar gave the Indian fans a lot to celebrate when he took aim and won silver medal for India in the London Olympics 2012. This is India’s second medal in London Games after Gagan Narang’s bronze medal in 10-metre rifle. This medal also happens to be India’s fourth overall Olympics medal in shooting events.

Army sharp marksman Vijay Kumar today fought a nerve-wracking battle with five other top marksmen to clinch the silver medal in the men's 25m Rapid Fire Pistol event at the Olympic Games here today.

Kumar beat back the challenge of world champion Alexei Klimov of Russia, Chinese duo of Ding Feng and Zhang Jian and German Christian Reitz in the 40-shot final to finish runner-up in a thrilling finale behind Cuba's Leuris Pupo who shot his way to the gold with a world record equalling score of 34.

The 26-year-old army subedar from Himachal Pradesh found the target 30 times out of 40 attempts in the series comprising eight rounds of five shots each.

This is India's second medal in the ongoing quadrennial extravaganza after fellow marksman Gagan Narang's bronze in the 10m Air Rifle event on July 30. This was also the country's fourth medal in shooting in Olympic history. The other medal winners are Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (silver in 2004 Athens) , Abhinav Bindra (gold in 2008 Beijing) besides Narang.

Kumar started with a bang, hitting the target all five times and kept himself in the hunt for a medal by consistently finding the target. After a perfect five out of five at the start, Kumar, a double gold medallist in the 2010 Commonwealth Games, found the target four times in the second and third series, but missed it twice in the fourth.

He came back strongly by finding the target four times in the next three rounds and assured himself of a silver. In the last round after Pupo shot four to clinch the gold, Kumar seemed to relax a bit and missed three targets.

The bronze medal was won by Feng with a tally of 27. In the final, Kumar was assured of a medal after the the elimination of the trio of Klimov (23), Jian (17) and Christian (13) leaving himself, Pupo and Feng in the fray.

The silver was in his bag when Feng missed twice in the seventh round and Kumar replied with four.

Kumar had earlier lifted the Indian shooting team's spirit after the flop show by Narang, who failed to qualify for the final of the 50m Rifle Prone, by entering the finals of his event through the preliminaries.

En route to his total score of 585, Kumar became the second shooter to break the previous Olympic record of 583 to give a hint of his potential during the second stage of qualification.

Placed fourth in the list, Kumar, who had scored 293 in stage 1 of the qualification yesterday, shot a series of 98 97 97 in the second stage to take his total score to 585. He shot a sequence of 99 96 98 at the Royal Artillery Barracks. The Army man then successfully competed with five shooters for a medal.

Pre-Games medal favourite Ronjan Sodhi had yesterday failed to qualify for the double trap event.

Klimov had created a new world record by shooting 592 but he could not replicate that in the final. He scored a total of 592 after Stage 2, breaking the existing world record of 591 and Olympic record of 583, with 294 points in Stage 1 and a staggering 298 out of 300 in Stage 2.
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