Saturday, 10 March 2012

By Retiring, Rahul Dravid Has Sent Team A Message: Sourav Ganguly

NEW DELHI: Rahul Dravid will remain one of the greatest cricketers I have had the pleasure of playing with. It'll be very difficult to replace a man with over 10,000 runs in both forms of the game. Indian cricket won't be the same without Dravid.

In Pics: Rahul Dravid's glorious Test career | Rahul Dravid Profile | Statistical highlights of Rahul Dravid's Test career | Dravid bids adieu

I can't say if it's a good time to quit because there is no such thing! Like other areas of life, when you do something with real passion and devotion, it's really hard to move away from it. But he has taken a really hard decision and sent a message to the team.

I believe Dravid formed one of the four pillars around which revolved India's efforts to rise to the top of world cricket. The team was going through a rebuilding phase when Dravid and me joined the team and all of us worked really hard to turn out fortunes around.

My first encounter with Dravid was way back in 1990-91 during India's Under-19 tour to England. His talent was already apparent then but we didn't stay in touch after that. The next time I really got to know him was during our debut series against England in 1996.

That Lord's Test will remain one of our fondest cricketing memories. Both of us were feeling the nerves in the middle but kept egging ourselves on. He was really unlucky not to complete a well-deserved century. Without a shadow of a doubt, he was the best No. 3 batsman in Test cricket of his generation. But to his credit he worked on improving his batting in one-day cricket.

He was also a team man to the core. He didn't blink an eyelid when the team needed his services as a wicketkeeper during the 2003 World Cup. We played as a complete unit, which proved to be one of our strengths.

He knows that once again it's time for a change and he needed to step away. I applaud him for his courage.


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