at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
India batsman VVS Laxman announced his retirement from international cricket on Saturday, despite his selection for the two-Test series against New Zealand.
The 37-year-old said he would step down with "immediate effect" during a news conference in his home city of Hyderabad, where India host the Kiwis in the opening test on Thursday.
"It's been 16 years since I made my international debut for India and I feel it's the right time for me to move on," Laxman told reporters in a trembling voice.
Laxman scored 8781 runs in 134 Tests, including 17 hundreds.
His recent form, howver, has been poor and clamour had grown in the Indian media to replace India's ageing batting stalwarts following 4-0 series whitewashes in England and Australia.
"I have always kept the country's success and needs ahead of my personal aspirations and I would have loved to contribute to the team's success especially against England and Australia later in the season," Laxman said.
"I think it's the right time to give opportunity to a youngster in home conditions before the tough overseas tours next year."
Former India captain Rahul Dravid was the first of the senior batsmen to retire from the longer format after the team slumped to eight consecutive test defeats away from home.
Sachin Tendulkar is the last from the golden generation of Indian batsmen to still play for the country. – Reuters