Dravid retires from international and First Class cricket

The run machine from Bangalore retires as the second-highest Test scorer.

Dravid celebrating the winning runs in the Adelaide Test, one of India's greatest wins of his era, on December …

In a move that would sadden cricket fans around the world, Indian run-machine Rahul Dravidannounced 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.

Dravid said he needed a month after the Australia tour to asses his path ahead. "I was considering my options series by series. After Australia, thought about my options dispassionately," he said of his decision.

"I didn't make this decision based on one series (in Australia). It's a combination of a lot of other things," he said of his poor run in what turned out to be his final appearance for India.

"I needed to be sure I was playing the game for the right reasons. I've done that for 16 years. I've had a great run. It's not like I've woken up one morning and decided (to retire). At the end of the day, I knew I had to go. I didn't feel the need to drag on any longer."

"I hope people will appreciate and respect my decision."

Dravid said he didn't consider playing domestic cricket for a while. "There were plenty of talented youngsters in the Karnataka side pushing for places in the South Zone team," he said.

Speaking of taking up an administrative position, Dravid said he had a young family with whom he loves spending time, and they will be his focal point when he considers any course of action.

Dravid's ODI career had practically ended in 2007 when he was dumped from the team after two poor home series against Pakistan and Australia. He made two surprise comebacks — for which selectors were widely criticised — and decided to formally end his ODI career after the disastrous tour of England.