Indian batsman Rahul Dravid retires from cricket after a glittering 16-year career
Dravid is the second-highest run scorer of all time in Test matches with 13,288
He has compiled 48 international centuries for India in Tests and one-day matches
India's revered batsman Sachin Tendulkar says: "There is only one Rahul Dravid"
His nickname says it all. After scoring over 13,000 runs in Test cricket during a glittering 16-year career, Rahul Dravid is known simply as “The Wall.”
But on Friday the 39-year-old announced he is retiring from the game to make way for a new generation of Indian players.
The only man who has scored more in Test matches than Dravid is India’s most revered batsman of all time, Sachin Tendulkar, who has chalked up 15,470 runs.
Dravid’s status in India is underlined by the poignant tribute delivered by his former teammate, who said: “There was and is only one Rahul Dravid.”
Dravid’s 36 hundreds have helped him compile 13,288 Test runs at an average of over 52 per innings, while his record of 210 catches in 164 games is unmatched.
“You know that when you leave playing for India and the life that I have lived for 16 years, and five years before that of first-class cricket, it is tough,” Dravid said at a press conference in Bangalore.
“It is all I have known all my grown life. From that point it was a difficult decision, but it wasn’t a difficult decision for me because I just knew in my heart that the time was right and I was very happy and comfortable in what I had achieved and what I had done.
“You just know deep down that it is time to move on and let the next generation take over.”
Tributes poured in for one of the most talented batsmen of his generation, who was also lauded for the way he conducted himself on and off the pitch. Dravid was the consummate professional.
Fittingly, one of the first to laud him was his great friend Tendulkar, the only man who can reasonably claim to have outshone Dravid.
“There was and is only one Rahul Dravid,” he said in a statement. “There can be no other. I will miss Rahul in the dressing room and out in the middle. For someone with a record like his, no tribute can be enough.”
It is for his consistency in Test matches that Dravid will be best remembered – no one has faced more deliveries in Tests – but he also enjoyed a long one-day international career, scoring 10,889 runs and 12 centuries.
He enjoyed mixed success during a two-year stint as captain but enjoyed a renaissance as a player during a tour of England in 2011, scoring 461 runs and making three centuries in a series that India lost 4-0.
Dravid also became the first non-Australian to perform the prestigious Bradman Oration on the state of the game in December 2011 – named after the late Don Bradman, widely regarded as the best batsman of all time.
He struggled on India’s recent tour to Australia but said that had no bearing on his decision to call time on an international career that began in Singapore with a match against Sri Lanka in April 1996.
“I don’t think there was a eureka moment for me that said that this is the time I have to go. For each one it comes differently, for me it’s come with a bit of contemplation, a bit of thought, with friends and family,” Dravid said.
“It is difficult … but you recognize that this moment has to come to everybody some day.
“While it will be difficult I have loved every moment of playing for India and for the Indian cricket team. In some ways it’s been an easy decision, because I just know that the time is right.”
Dravid’s last act as a top-level cricketer will be playing for the Rajasthan Royals in the forthcoming 20-over Indian Premier League tournament.
But perhaps the final word should go to Australian fast bowler Brett Lee, who enjoyed many a fierce battle with Dravid in the middle.
“If you can’t get along with Dravid, you’re struggling in life,” he told the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s website.