Batting great Rahul Dravid, the second most prolific batsman in the game’s history and India’s middle order bulwark for years, on Friday bid adieu to Test cricket, bringing down the curtains on a glorious 16-year career.
The 39-year-old Dravid, a former India captain, became the first of the three ageing greats of Indian cricket, besides Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman, to retire in the aftermath of India’s disastrous Test tour of Australia.
“I would like to announce my retirement from international and domestic first-class cricket. It is 16 years since I played my first Test match for India and today I feel it is an time to move on. Once I was like every other boy in India, with a dream of playing for my country. Yet I could never have imagined a journey so long and so fulfilling,” Dravid said at a press conference.
“No dream is ever chased alone. As I look back, I have many people to thank for teaching me and believing in me. My junior coaches in Bangalore and at various junior national camps inculcated in me a powerful love of the game which has always stayed with me,” said Dravid who was flanked BCCI President N Srinivasan and former captain Anil Kumble.
“My coaches at the international level have added to my craft and helped shape my personality. The physios and trainers worked hard to keep me fit — not an easy job — and allowed me to play late into my 30s.
“The selectors, who rarely receive any credit in India, occasionally had more confidence in me than I had in myself and I am grateful for that. The various captains I played under offered me guidance and inspired me. Most of all I have to thank the teams I played with.”
Dravid said he would leave the stage with wonderful memories he shared with his team-mates who are legends of the game.
“I was lucky in my early years to play for Karnataka team which was trying to forge itself into a strong side and they were years of fun and learning,” he said.
“In the Indian team, I was fortunate to be part of a wonderful era when India played some of its finest cricket at home and abroad. Many of my teammates have become legends, not just in India but in the wider cricketing world. I admired them, learnt from them and I leave the game with wonderful memories and strong friendships. It is a great gift to have.”
Characteristic to his simple but dignified approach to his cricket, David said he had tried to uphold the spirit of the game.
“My approach to cricket has been reasonably simple: it was about giving everything to the team, it was about playing with dignity and it was about upholding the spirit of the game. I hope I have done some of that. I have failed at times, but I have never stopped trying. It is why I leave with sadness but also with pride.” (PTI)