In a move that would sadden cricket fans around the world, Indian run-machine Rahul Dravid announced his retirement from international and domestic First Class cricket.
He finishes his prolific 16-year international career having scored the second-most runs in Tests and seventh-most in ODIs, but before he had the chance to see his team set right their recent rotten run in Test cricket.
Dravid, who had turned 39 in January, had informally informed Yahoo! of his decision on Thursday, but made the formal announcement before the media on Friday noon at his home venue, Bangalore’s Chinnaswamy Stadium.
"I leave with sadness, but also with pride," he said, reading from a statement, with BCCI president N Srinivasan and former India captain and statemate Anil Kumble sitting next to him. Also at the press conference were his wife Vijeta, and sons Samit and Anvay.
"I was comfortable with what I had achieved. Deep down, I felt the time was right to move on and let the youngsters take over."
"When I started, I could never imagine that this long journey will take me so far," Dravid said. "In the Indian team I was fortunate to be part of a wonderful era. Many of my team-mates have become legends, not just in India but in the wider world... I leave the game with wonderful memories and great friendships."
Saddening as Dravid’s decision is, it was not unexpected. With each of India’s eight Test defeats abroad, the calls to replace India’s aging greats have grown louder. Dravid, who had started his Test career with a bang at Lord’s in 1996, finished with a whimper. He made 194 runs in eight innings in Australia, passing fifty once and was bowled six times, antithetical to the time when he seemed to have the broadest bat in the game.