End looms for India's Laxman - reports
Speculation is mounting over the future of Indian batsman V.V.S. Laxman after another unimpressive showing at the crease in India's innings defeat to Australia at the WACA Ground.
Indian newspapers reported he would retire at the end of the four-Test series, which concludes in Adelaide next week, and may even have played his last Test in Perth as he battles to keep his place in the side.
The 37-year-old has been one of the chief offenders in India's poor batting performances in Australia, with just 102 runs at an average of 17 in the series so far with a single half-century the highlight.
In Perth the veteran of 133 Tests battled manfully in making 31 in the first innings, but fell for a duck in the second innings.
His contribution is in stark contrast to his career average of 50.65 against Australia for the man who famously partnered with Rahul Dravid in an incredible 376-run stand in Kolkata in 2001 that enabled India to win after following-on.
There were whispers among the Indian media straight after the Test that Laxman was set to retire, but Indian captain M.S. Dhoni played down the suggestion.
"As of now, there's nothing I know officially," Dhoni said.
"I don't know where this came from, until Laxman comes to me and says something, I can't comment."
The Indian Express Newspaper reported that Laxman was set to retire, quoting a source inside the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
"Laxman will retire at the end of the ongoing Test series in Australia," the article said.
"He is 37 and India's next Test series is still at least six months away. Plus his form has dropped significantly, and his fitness, especially a troublesome back, is hampering him."
Laxman has been prolific since making his Test debut in 1996 compiling 17 centuries and 56 half-centuries over 233 innings.
He could be replaced in Adelaide by young batsman Rohit Sharma, who is yet to play Test cricket, but was 12th man in Perth.
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