Hyderabad: VVS Laxman feels the New Zealand Test series will be a big opportunity for the youngsters to gain confidence ahead of the overseas tours next year, as they would be playing an "inexperienced Kiwi attack".
"I stick to my belief to give opportunity to the youngsters against the inexperienced New Zealand attack. I believe this is the right time to move on as youngsters should get an opportunity to play in home conditions, keeping in mind the overseas tours next year," Laxman told the mediapersons here today after announcing his retirement with immediate effect.
"I agree that I have disappointed a lot of well wishers starting with my family. They must have wanted me to play the last Test at Hyderabad but I apologise for probably not giving them the opportunity to see me (in action) for one last time."
The Hyderabadi stylist did admit that the "last four or five days were toughest in his international career".
"I have heard eminent sportspersons saying that a time comes when one gets a feeling that his/her day has come. I experienced that over the last four or five days. I have always listened to my inner conscience and that is probably the reason I chose cricket over medicine when I was 17," the veteran of 134 Tests said.
"The inner voice is a divine voice. Late until last night, I wasn`t able to make up my mind but I have always given a lot of importance to team`s requirements as country`s interest comes ahead of personal aspirations."
Laxman informed that he had communicated his decision to the selectors and the BCCI president this morning itself.
"I only communicated it to the chairman of selection committee this morning that I won`t continue playing cricket. I have decided to hang my boots with immediate effect," said Laxman.
Laxman did say that the selectors as well as the BCCI president agreed to his decision "reluctantly".
"They did accept my decision with great reluctance."
Laxman has been in touch with his teammates since morning and it was indeed a "very emotional moment" for him.
"Everyone got very very emotional. I have got a lot of love and affection from everyone. They didn`t expect this. I did try to get in touch with Dhoni but as you know it`s very difficult to reach him," the soft-spoken Laxman said with a smile.
He became a touch pragmatic when asked whether he regrets this decision.
"You never want to leave. No cricketer wants that but then I have no regrets," he insisted.
Someone who has always been humble, Laxman said that criticism from a certain section never bothered him.
"There has been lot of negative comments but I have had more well wishers. In a country, where cricket is a religion, you can`t satisfy everyone. During the last 16 years, there have been disappointments and successes. Lot of people wanted me to continue but my parents told me to listen to my inner voice," he added.
Any discussions with Laxman is incomplete without the mention of that epic knock of 281, and he said, "What a Test match! I feel how lucky I was to be a part of history. How we changed the result of that match. It`s always emotional when I think of that knock."
Asked about his innings of 96 against South Africa at Durban when the opposition attack had likes of Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn, Laxman said, "Durban is the fastest pitch in South Africa and obviously it was very satisfying to get runs. Any innings that has helped the country win a match is always valuable."
According to the `Very Very Special` man of Indian cricket, the best bowler he faced was Wasim Akram.
"Wasim Akram was the best bowler I faced as he had a lot of variations. But I have also played some great bowlers over the years and was lucky to play some good innings when team was in dire straits."
For him it was privilege to play alongside Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly.
"I am fortunate to have played alongside some of the game`s greatest players. When we played together, we had only one common goal, that is to make the Indian team best in the world."
Laxman feels that he is still good enough to play first-class cricket -- something which was evident when he announced that he would be playing the coming edition of Ranji Trophy.
"I believe that I have a duty to help the youngsters of Hyderabad as I have not been able to spend a lot of time with them over the years due to my international commitments.
"I have decided to play the Ranji Trophy for Hyderabad in the coming season. I have played a couple of pre-season tournaments and some of our young batsmen are really good. In the next two or three years, some of them might be in national reckoning."
The 37-year-old is also planning to write an autobiography of his illustrious journey for the past 16 years.
"I have a lot of free time now and I will definitely think about it as my fans and well wishers would like to know about my experiences."