NEW DELHI: India’s batting stalwart Rahul Dravid, second most prolific batsman in Test history, on Friday announced his retirement from international cricket where he has been a star for over 15 years.
Rahul Dravid’s glorious Test career
Dravid made the announcement with the BCCI president, N Srinivasan and formwer captain Anil Kumble at a press conference in Bangalore.
The 39-year-old Dravid had announced his retirement from ODI cricket in England last year after been surprisingly recalled in the ODI team due to his stupendous performance during the Test series against England in which he scored three centuries.
Dravid played in 164 Test matches since making his debut against England at the Lord’s in 1996. He scored 13,288 runs for an impressive average of 52.31 and aggregates second only to Sachin Tendulkar who has 15470 runs in 188 Test matches.
Dravid, nicknamed the ‘Wall’ for his dour defence, is also a world record holder in the number of Test catches. He took 210 catches, mostly in the slip cordon.
Dravid is the first of the three ageing greats of Indian cricket, besides Tendulkar and VVS Laxman, to retire.
The Karnataka batsman had a wonderful tour of England but his performance in the recent tour of Australia was below par, prompting calls that it was time for him and Laxman to hang their boots.
In an illustrious Test career, Dravid hit 36 centuries and 63 half-centuries with 270 against Pakistan being his highest score. In ODIs, he has compiled 10,889 runs in 344 matches for an average of 39.16. He also slammed 12 ODI centuries and 83 half-centuries.
Under his capataincy, India won away Test series in the West Indies as well as England but had a disastrous 2007 World Cup where they were out in the first round.
Dravid, however will be seen leading Rajasthan Royals in the upcoming fifth edition of Indian Premier League.
Dravid gave up the Indian Test captaincy when no was asking for his head and just after he had led the side to a series win in England. Also, like with the captaincy, the call hasn’t been made in haste in the middle of a series, there was a lot of deliberation, with the clincher being that with the Indian team having finished with the tours of the big three nations – South Africa, England and Australia – the extra challenge that the man thrives on, would have been missing for a while.
Now, Dravid couldn’t really care if his runs came against Bangladesh or Zimbabwe, he has always been hungry for more, but at 39, the plate was always half-full rather than half-empty and that is the basis of his decision. With the call having been made, Dravid is at peace and now, most ironically, he can concentrate on the upcoming IPL, normally the least of his priorities. Surely he would have expected a lot of his IPL press conferences to centre around his Test future and in one timely stroke, he has dealt with it.
Dravid may be at peace but Indian cricket surely will take some time to recover from this body blow. Things will move on but it will not be the same without the calming, assured presence of Dravid walking out at the fall of the first Indian wicket. The gentle raising of the bat, the shoulders stretched wide in celebration on reaching yet another landmark, all following his literally sweating bucketfuls, will no longer be on view.
Oppositions the world over will rejoice, bowlers will jump with joy in the knowledge that they will not have to work so hard to get a single wicket. Batsmen who had got used to their nicks being gobbled up at slip by the man with the safest pair of hands will sigh in relief, but to a man they will also agree that the game itself will be poorer for his absence.
Dravid, indeed, was a great ambassador of the game, a perfect role model for the gentleman’s game.
It’s time to say goodbye and good luck to a true legend. Thank you Rahul for all the wonderful memories.