Here is the live coverage of Rahul Dravid’s press conference.
Rahul Dravid: “I hereby announce my retirement from International cricket and domestic as well. It has been 16 years since I started playing. I have many people to thank. My junior coaches at Bangalore have inculcated me a powerful love of the game which has always stayed with me.”
“In the Indian team I have been fortunate to have been part of an era where we won home and away. I found support and encouragement from my parents and brother. My wife Vijetha has been a single parent as I travelled all over.
“I have failed at times, but have not stopped trying. I leave with sadness and pride”.
N Srinivasan: “I have mixed feelings. All of us know what Rahul Dravid has achieved on the field. I guess every Indian cricket fan knows every statistic by heart. He has been a great ambassador for the Indian team. We all think that everybody is permanent. Deciding to retire has to be the toughest decision Rahul has had to made. We all know how he performed in England. There is hardly anything for him to achieve. I will echo everybody’s feelings when I say thank you for what you have done. We wish you all the best as you step into the non-cricketing world. The BCCI is honoured that you have been a part of us. We plan to felicitate you at an appropriate time in the near future.”
Anil Kumble: I welcome everyone. It has been a glorious career embellished by Rahul’s contribution, many a victory for India and Karnataka. Every run that I have scored, I have enjoyed. Quiet, an assuming and consumed by a desire to perform. A fantastic record indeed. I have been really fortunate to have played with you. You are amongst Karnataka’s favorite cricketers. We expect you to be wearing you an administrative coat in the KSCA. At the KSCA we plan to celebrate your career in a fitting way. Wish you all the best in the future.
Now the press gets to ask questions.
Dravid: “I felt it is the right time to go. For want of a better word, I felt that the time was right and I needed to move on.”
“Having played for India for 16 years, it was a difficult decision. I knew the time was right, it is hard in a way, but easy as well, but deep down you know that you have to make way for the youngsters.”
“When you play for 16 years, there will be incredible highs and there will be lows as well. At the end of the day, there is a huge sense of satisfaction, but I have left no stone unturned in trying to become the cricketer I wanted to become.”
“When you play International Cricket for India, you have to learn deal with the criticism. It is two sides of the same coin. The media has been kind to me and the people as well. I have got nothing else to say.”
“Irrespective of how the Australian series would have gone, I had decided to take a call after the series. I had confided in a few friends and discussed what was good for Indian cricket and what the future holds. I did not follow every single word but knew what kind of reaction we were facing in India. I would have come to the same conclusion irrespective of what would have happened in Australia.”
“I wanted to take the emotion out of it. I wanted to take a dispassionate decision. I have spoken to Sachin and a few others as well. I sat down after the Aus series, sat down at home for a month and came to this decision. Very clear in my mind. They have been incredibly supportive.”
“It has been a honor and privilege to play with a galaxy of stars like Srinath, Ganguly, Bhajji, Sachin, Kumble. Fortunate to play in an era which was a pretty successful for Indian cricket. For me to be sharing a dressing room with them is an absolute privilege.”
“These decisions are based on a lot of series and not just on one series. I didn’t make the decision based on one series.”
“There wasn’t any one Eureka moment. For each one it comes differently, it came with a bit of contemplation and thought for me. It is difficult, but you recognise when it will come. You know when this moment will come. Every moment of playing for India has been cherishable. It has been an easy decision as well coz I knew deep down.”
“I was playing the game for the right reasons. I haven’t woken up one fine day and decided that’s it. It has come after a lot of thought. I didn’t feel the need to drag it on any further.”
“If you make a decision during the course of a series, then it is fine. I have made my decision after a series has ended. Just to make the decision for one test match is not fine for me. I hope people will respect and appreciate my decision. I didn’t want to do that just for the sake of one game.”
Post-retirement plans? Will we see you batting in the nets? “Probably in the quiet. Will have a net late in the night.”
“I never took the ‘Wall’ tag seriously. Honestly I felt they were setting me up, because if I fail then they can say one more brick has fallen or the foundations are weak. I never took it seriously. I never walked around feeling the ‘Wall’.”
“I was disappointed that I put down a few catches in the last year. Whenever you drop a catch it is disappointing. I can get over getting out, but dropping a catch really stays with me. It really hurts. As a slip fielder you are going to drop a few, that’s part and parcel of the game. The fewer you drop the better it is.”
“It is difficult to talk about one particular innings. The Eden test, 233 at Adelaide, the couple of innings at Jamaica on a low scoring track, Leeds 2001 or Rawalpindi. It is hard to choose one. It is difficult to choose between your sons.”
“You are seen as a serious intellectual. Can we see you playing an important role in Indian cricket? Do u feel you have left the game better than when you got in. It is for the people to decide. Looking forward to the IPL and then will relax and put up my legs to rest. I will play my part in helping young kids. I have not made up my mind as yet.”
“When was the first time you involved the BCCI and selectors? Personal question, but I have kept them in the loop.”
“We were all disappointed that we didn’t do well in England and Australia. As far as who will replace me, there are a bunch of exciting kids coming through. When I look back to me being 23 years old and comparing them with the ones that we have now, I was never as talented as them. It will be fun to sit back on the couch and watch them perform. As we have seen even in our generation, we had me, Sachin, VVS, Ganguly and later on Gauti and Sehwag came through. It will be interesting to see them coming through.”
“There is no truth about the rifts in the Indian team. It is all speculation.”
“I don’t think I can play domestic cricket for Karnataka anymore. If I did, I would be blocking a youngsters place in the team. There is some exciting talent coming through in Karnataka and they are pushing for places in the South Zone team as well.”
“I have lived in a cocoon, in a surreal world. It has been pretty unreal actually. Sometime away from the game would be good for me actually.”
“My test debut has been a special moment.” Dravid spoke in Kannada and looked sheepish at the end of it all, had a big smile on his face too.
“In 16 years time, you will be attending a press conference when someone would’ve achieved much more than me.”
“Shoaib Akhtar was a good bowler, not the best I have faced. People like McGrath, Wasim, Waqar Ambrose, Walsh and Murali. Warne as well. In the Indian team I have had the likes of Kumble, Srinath, Prasad and Harbhajan.”
That is the end of the press conference.
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