On 9/3/2012 Rahul Dravid announced his retirement from international and domestic first class cricket. Anil Kumble and BCCI President N. Srinivasan were with him. In 164 Tests, he had 36 centuries, scored 13,288 runs with an average of 52.31, 210 catches and one wicket that is of Ridley Jacobs. In 344 ODIs he scored 10,889 runs with an average of 39.16, 12 centuries, 196 catches and four wickets including one of Saeed Anwar. His T20 match against England was his debut match and retirement match. He was known as the Wall. When he batted well the headline was the Wall stands tall.
Rahul Dravid made Test debut at Lord’s in 1996. He scored 95. That was also the Test where Sourav Ganguly made his debut, hit a century, and overshadowed Rahul Dravid. Rahul Dravid’s first Test century came at Johannesburg in 1997. His highest Test runs in an Innings was 270 at Rawalpindi in 2004.
In 2001 at Calcutta Rahul Dravid partnered V. V. S. Laxman in fightback against Australia after India were asked to follow-on having scored 275 runs less than Australia. Rahul Dravid scored 180. V. V. S. Laxman scored 281*. In 2003-4 tour of Australia at Adelaide he scored 233 and 72* and India won the Test. Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag were once close to breaking Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy’s world record for first wicket.
For most of Rahul Dravid’s captaincy Gregory Stephen Chappell was coach. When G. S. Chappell began as coach Sourav Ganguly was captain and Rahul Dravid was vice captain. Chappell did not want Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh and Sachin Tendulkar in the team. Sourav Ganguly was out of team after winning a series in Zimbabwe. Zaheer Khan was also out of the team. Both players returned to the team. The relationship between Chappell and many players was strained. Rahul Dravid was lonely. After Chappell’s term expired Chandu Borde became coach.
As Test captain Rahul Dravid’s record was mixed. Against Pakistan he lost a Test and consequently a series. Pakistan were 0/3 and 39/6 on the first day of third Test which India lost. In 2006 he won a Test series 1-0 in West Indies. At Kingston he scored 81 and 68 when wickets kept falling and led India to victory. India won the series in West Indies after 35 years. Against England he won a series 1-0. India won the series in England after 21 years. In one Test at Oval in 2007 he did not enforce follow-on in spite of having 312 runs lead and that Test ended in draw. India should have won the series 2-0. Against South Africa he lost the series 1-2 which India should have won 2-1.
As ODI captain Rahul Dravid won matches consecutively in the beginning. After India won the first ODI in West Indies Chappell said West Indies have forgotten how to win. That motivated West Indies and they won the next four ODIs. It was disaster in ODI World Cup 2007.
Rahul Dravid decided not to lead T20 side in World Cup 2007. Mahendra Singh Dhoni became captain of T20 team. While the tournament was in progress he quit as captain. India won the cup. Anil Kumble became Test captain and Dhoni ODI captain. Dhoni did not want seniors in the team. Rahul Dravid was out of ODI team. He was recalled for ODIs in South Africa and dropped again.
Shahid Afridi spoke of Pakistani’s being large hearted. He should have remembered India’s large heartedness and Pakistan’s small heartedness in an ODI where Saeed Anwar scored 192 and created a world record and Pakistan won the match. India had allowed Saeed Anwar to use a runner and Shahid Afridi was the runner. When Rahul Dravid batted Pakistan’s captain Rameez Raja first allowed Sachin Tendulkar to be runner. When it appeared Rahul Dravid will lead India to victory Rameez Raja withdrew the permission and did not allow Sachin Tendulkar to continue as runner. At the end Rahul Dravid was overcome by fatigue and India lost the ODI.
Rahul Dravid’s best time as cricketer was in England in 2011. He scored three centuries in four Tests which India lost. He was unexpectedly selected to play ODIs and T20 and he retired from ODIs and T20 at the end of the tour.
Rahul Dravid’s last Test series was a disappointment. India lost to Australia 0-4. Rahul Dravid was bowled six times out of eight. He did not score many runs. There was criticism of senior cricketers.
Rahul Dravid holds the record of highest Test catches, in Test runs aggregate he is second. Whether there will be another cricketer like him in Indian team is difficult to tell. India did not have an opener like Sunil Gavaskar and an all rounder like Kapil Dev after they retired. West Indies were once a great team. A player has to retire some day and Rahul Dravid chose the day.