Time for youngsters to make new history Dravid

Time for youngsters to make new history Dravid

By: || Updated: 01 Jan 1970 12:00 AM


Bangalore:
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 in Bangalore.

"No dream is ever chased alone. As
I look back, I have many people to thank for teaching me and belieiving 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 appoach 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."

He also thanked
the cricket fans for their support during his long career.

"Finally
I would like to thank the Indian cricket fan, both here and across the
world. The game is lucky to have you and I have been lucky to play before
you. To represent India, and thus to represent you, has been a privilege
and one which I have always taken seriously," he said.

Dravid had
a disastrous tour of Australia where he scored only 194 runs in eight
innings at an average of 24.25. Even more disappointing was that Dravid,
known for his solid technique, was bowled in six out of the eight innings.

There
was intense a speculation about Dravid's future following the Australian
tour and his decision to hang his boots will now turn focus on another
batting great VVS Laxman who too had a disappointing tour.

Dravid
had already 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.

Nicknamed 'The Wall' for his dour defence, the
always thoughtful-looking Dravid walked into international cricket sunset
after making his debut in June 1996 though he will lead the Jaipur-based
Rajasthan Royals side in the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League.

Dravid
ended his Test career with 13,288 runs -- behind only Tendulkar (15,470 in
188 Tests) -- in 164 matches, with 36 hundreds and 63 half centuries at an
average of 52.31, the 270 against Pakistan being his highest score.

Initially
considered a liability in the one-day arena, he re-invented his game over
the years to meet the demands of the shorter format which he played from
April 1996 to September 2011. He scored 10,889 runs from 344 ODIs with 12
centuries and 83 half centuries at an average of 39.16.

Under his
captaincy between October 2005 and September 2007, India won Test series
in the West Indies as well as England but had a disastrous World Cup in
2007 when they were knocked out in the first round of the tournament. He
captained India in 25 Tests and 79 ODIs.

Dravid's captaincy
coincided with Greg Chappell's controversial tenure as India coach, but
that did not affect his performance with the bat, as hegarnered 1736 runs
at 44.51.

Never a natural athlete, Dravid's immense levels of
concentration also came in handy as he also holds the world record of
highest Test catches -- 210 -- mostly at the slip cordon. He overtook Mark
Waugh to become the most successful slip catcher in history. In addition
to this, he has 196 catches in ODIs.

Asked how long he took to
reach his decision to retire, Dravid said, "For a year now after each and
every series I have assessed when I came back from Australia I wanted to
take the emotion out of it and look at it dispassionately ... I have
spoken to Sachin and to my team-mates and all of them were supportive.

Dravid
denied that his poor form in Australia had been factor in his retirement
decision.

"I would like to believe irrespective of how the
Australian series had gone, I would have assessed a lot of things and come
to the same conclusion."

"I dont think I based this decision on
on series, it's a culmination of a lot of things. These decisions are
based on a lot of things."

"It was an honour and a privilege to
play with the galaxy of cricketers I played with ... fortunate to play in
an era which was pretty successful in Indian cricket, for me to be sharing
a dressing room with them was an honour."

On the high and lows in
his long career, David said, "When you play for 16 years, you will face
highs and lows. There have been many disappointments and great highs.
There is a huge sense of satisfaction that I have always given it my best
shot. I have left no stone unturned in trying to become the best cricketer
I can become. Absolutely no regrets."

Dravid said he thought it
was right time for him to call it quits so that younger players take
Indian cricket forwrad.

"I felt it was the right time for me to
move on, for a next generation of cricketers to play and take the team
forward ...a lot of these decisions just come to you in different ways
...I just felt the time was right. I needed to move on."

He said
he has no regrets though it was a difficult decision to call it quits.

"Yes
and no. It's all I've known, from that point of view it was a difficult
decision. but I knew deep down the time was right. I was very happy and
comfortable in what I had achieved and what I had done," he said. 





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