Bangalore, Mar 9: Rahul Dravid announced his retirement from Test and first class cricket on Friday. Former India and Karnataka team-mates, paid rich tributes to Dravid and some of them felt that he could have carried on for few more years.
ThatsCricket spoke to Dravid's former team-mates in Bangalore and here is what they said.
Former India captain and team-mate, Anil Kumble
It has been a glorious career embellished by Rahul’s contributions to many a memorable victory for India and Karnataka. Quiet, unassuming and completely consumed by his enthusiasm and passion for the game -- those are my first thoughts about Rahul. Rare are those individuals that hold the unique combination of exceptional talent and commitment. His ability to concentrate for long hours remains unmatched. He is someone who is constantly in search of perfection.
He has over 13,000 runs in Tests, over 10,000 runs in ODIs and over 400 catches in international cricket, a fantastic record indeed. However, they only capture his contributions partly. His reassuring presence at the crease or on the field allowed every other batsman the rare indiscrete shot. I was really fortunate to have played alongside you, it’s been an honour. You are a perfect ambassador for cricket and an ideal team man.
As president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA), I wish to say that you are an inspiration and a role model, and you have been responsible for a lot of young cricketers taking up the game. You are amongst Karnataka's finest cricketing sons. On behalf of the management, I would like to congratulate you on a great career, and am sure the committee will now expect to see you often in the association wearing your administrative hat! I would like to congratulate you again on a glorious incomparable career.
Former India paceman and team-mate, Javagal Srinath
No, it was not a suprise and it was a well planned one. He is done it at the right time and I completely endorse his decision. I don't see Dravid's value diminishing in any way since he has retired. I see his stature increasing. Quitting the game is not an easy decision. Although it is sad, one needs to celebrate his achievements. What I appreciate about Rahul, is his dignity. The way he connects with the game. For me, he is the ideal person to look upto when you are facing a tough situation. He is one person who can navigate through tough situations.
Former India spinner and team-mate, Sunil Joshi
Indian cricket and Karnataka cricket will miss Rahul Dravid.
Rahul Dravid's father, Sharad Dravid
For us, Dravid, making his Test debut at Lord's was the greatest moment in our life. We will cherish that forever. To play his first match at Lord's was the highlight for him as a cricketer and that made us proud.
Former India cricketer and Karnataka team-mate, Vijay Bharadwaj
It was not a suprise for me. However, I did not expect him to retire immediately after the Australia series. It is a sad day for Indian cricket. It will be difficult for Dravid to keep himself away from the game. We are all fortunate to have shared the dressing room with Dravid in Karnataka team and Indian team.
Whatever he takes up post-retirement, he will give 100 percent which has ben doing while playing. It has been educative years for all of us being with Dravid. One
standout thing of Dravid is his work ethic. He always knew what he was going to be, his aim was to be the best and he has done it.
It is unfortunate to compare cricketers. But they will compare Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid. Tendulkar scoring runs is not a big deal because he had the talent. He is once in a 100 years cricketer. Dravid is not talented as Tendulkar but he has proved his worth by scoring thousands of runs and the number of balls he has played on the cricket field is just unparallel. The difference between Tendulkar and Dravid is that a guy who is not half the talented as Tendulkar has scored so many runs. That shows his dedication and hard work.
Former India batsman and Karnataka captain Sujith Somasundar
Disappointing to know that Rahul Dravid will no longer be part of the Indian team. We both made our state debut together during 1991 and I was very sure that Rahul would make it to the Indian team. Ever since he made his first class debut, Rahul was always consumed by cricket. His determination, commitment and focus makes him a genius. I really doubt if India can produce another Rahul Dravid. I am sure there may be someone but not in the near future.
Indian international umpire Shahvir Tarapore
He is a great guy. Words cannot describe him. He was a dedicated guy. He always used to come and meet my dad (Keki Tarapore) before every game. That memory has always been there with me. And also, I got to umpire one of his games in Hyderabad where he scored a century along with Sachin Tendulkar.
Former Karnataka player and coach, Raghunath Beerala
I can recollect an incident during 1999-2000 season when Karnataka was playing Madhya Pradesh in the final here in Bangalore. On the fourth day of the match, it was raining and when Dravid walked into the dressing room, he said "If you are destined to win the title, you will. You cannot fight nature." And the next day, on the fifth day, we won.
Former India batsman Brijesh Patel
Dravid has had a good long innings. He has achieved whatever he has to and has ended as one of the best batsmen in the world. In spite of all his achievements he has been humble, easy approachable by all. And in his entire career he has not been involved in any controversy. He has conducted himself very well
on and off the field. He has always been a team man. Whether you ask him to open, bat anywhere in the line-up, field at forward short-leg, he puts his hand up. I wish him all the best.
Former India wicketkeeper, Sadanand Vishwanath
I feel he could have continued for a couple of years more. I think the BCCI and politics have driven him to retirement. It is sad that Dravid has retired but all good things come to an end. Indian cricket will miss him a lot. Dravid was my neighbour and I remember as a young kid, he and his brother Vijay joined us at our place to celebrate our Ranji Trophy victory in 1982-83 season. I cherish those moments. I don't think the youngsters can fill Dravid's spot, they lack quality.
Karnataka coach and Ranji captain in Dravid's first class debut season, Karthik Jeshwanth
Personally, I feel Dravid had lot of cricket in him. It was just one failure in Australia which has pushed him to retirement. There are no replacements and our youngsters will fail against quality opposition. As of now, there is no ready replacement for Dravid. He could have continued for at least two years. I was the captain in Dravid's first season as Karnataka Ranji Trophy player. I can recollect an incident where he wanted to share the room with Syed Kirmani. The reason behind that was that he wanted to learn about the game fro Kirmani. From those days, he had the urge to learn and he has continued to learn from everyone.
Karnataka State Cricket Association's (KSCA) senior official, V Shanker
I have seen Rahul Dravid right from his junior cricket days and he has remained the same from then, that is being humble. He has been a great cricketer for Karnataka and India and we at KSCA wish him all success in all his endeavours post-retirement. He was a thorough gentleman on and off the field. He is a great role model for budding cricketers.