Bangalore, Mar 9: Former India batsman GR Viswanath felt Rahul Dravid could have continued for a couple of years more. When Viswanath asked Dravid to continue, his reply was that he did not want to block an youngster.
Dravid announced his retirement from Test and first class cricket on Friday at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
The 63-year-old Viswanath, who was one of the best batsmen of his era, was present during Dravid's farewell press conference at the Stadium.
"Having played for the country for so many years and with such distinction, with so many records to speak about, it"s indeed hard for someone to take a decision on retirment," said Viswanath.
He continued: "I am sure it"s equally hard for hard for his numerous fans and well wishers to digest the fact that Rahul will no longer be seen in action. But it"s his decision and he must have thought long and hard before calling it time. I thought he still had a couple of years" quality cricket left in him and that"s what I told him when rang him up a couple of days ago to inform about his decision to quit. He is still very fit and he didn"t get runs only in the Australian series, but no one else did either!
"In the West Indies and England, where he was the only batsman to get runs, he batted exceptionally well in difficult conditions against some quality bowling. So, I wanted him to continue for some more time. But he was firm on his decision. He told me 'no sir, I have already made up mind. I don"t want to block an youngster coming and establishing a career in the team." That shows the character and selfless attitude of the person. You don"t see many players leaving the scene when people are still asking why now?"
Viswanath, who played 91 Tests for India and scored 6,080 runs, praised Dravid's technique.
"No doubt, he is one of the most technically accomplished batsmen of his era and his records speak for themselves. But when you have such a long career, there is every possibility that some doubts creep into your mind about your technique, especially when you are not doing well. I remember when he repeatedly got out to a moving ball on one of the tours. So he came back and hit 1000 hanging balls to rid of his problem. He was a thinking cricketer with vast amounts of concentration. In my time, Sunil Gavaskar had that quality and after him it was Rahul. He was a great ambassador of this great game and will be missed badly."
Former India off-spinner, EAS Prasanna said cricketing world would miss Dravid.
"Cricketing world will definitely miss Rahul, but all good things will have to come to an end. I also feel that he is retiring not at the peak of his career. His peak was when he slammed three centuries on the tour of England. Nevertheless, there will be a huge void definitely thanks to our lack of planning. If our selectors had begun this rotation policy some years back, we might have had a few batsmen who could come somewhere near Dravid, but I don"t see it happening at this moment."