Rahul Dravid Announces Retirement From International Cricket

Bangalore: The ‘Wall’ of Indian cricket, Rahul Dravid, has announced his retirement from international cricket and the first class cricket on Friday.

With his retirement, India has lost the third cricketer (Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble being the first two) to have retired from a team which has had several achievements under its belt.

Dravid, along with Sachin TendulkarSourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman, formed an impeccable middle-order batting line-up for India in the late nineties and first decade of this century, which, for the first time helped Team India perform well on the overseas tours.

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 has played in 164 Test matches since making his debut against England at the Lord`s in 1996. He has 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.

If Dravid decides to call it a day, he will be 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.

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 with Australian pacer Ben Hilfenhaus repeatedly breaching his defence with ease.

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.

There has been intense speculation about Dravid`s impending retirement ever since he failed with the bat during the Australian tour.

According to sources in the BCCI, there is a possibility that the BCCI might arrange for a testimonial match for Dravid--- which brings in a possibility that he might just play a Test match against New Zealand at home before he calls time on his international career.

Dravid, however will be seen leading Rajasthan Royals in the upcoming fifth edition of Indian Premier League.