Rahul Dravid's has been one of the most graceful retirements that one can remember in a long long time. The joint press conference with BCCI president N Srinivasan and former cricketer Anil Kumble, who happens to be the head of Karnataka State Cricket Association, is the way how things are supposed to be done.
Once again, Dravid has shown the way.
If you look at the 0-8 drubbing where India's famous batting line-up collapsed, then only one man stood out. And that is Dravid in England. His three centuries were totally phenomenal. A great achievement when the chips were down. He also scored a century in the home series against West Indies and hit close to 200 runs in the tough Australia series.
He could have well continued for a year more and nobody would have said anything. This, especially considering the fact that we only have home series till the end of 2013. Dravid was sure to have done well if he continued.
But you know the retirement timing is right when more people want you to stay than those who want you to go.Team above self
Dravid has always been a team player. He has always put his team above himself. That is a rare trait indeed.
When captain Sourav Ganguly went about with his seven batsman theory in ODIs, he agreed to go along and become a wicket-keeper. That even though he wasn't keen and the extra load required much more hard work.
But Dravid always turned adversity to his advantage. Before he became wicket-keeper, he averaged a low 36 with a strike rate of 67. Once he donned the gloves, his batting average went up to a superlative 44 with a strike rate of close to 73.
He became a great ODI player thanks to his positive attitude and retired with more than 10,000 ODI runs.
Later when he was captain, in order to accommodate Ganguly, he agreed to open the innings in the Lahore Test in 2006. And that too when Pakistan had put up 679 runs on the board.
Again, thriving under pressure, he put up a record 410 runs for the opening partnership with Virender Sehwag scoring a century. In the second Test also he opened and promptly went ahead and scored another ton.
When the opening pair was injured in the tough England tour in 2011, he agreed to open yet again and scored two more centuries just like the Pakistan tour.
His team spirit also showed in his many partnerships. One has simply lost count of the number of times Dravid has been involved in a century stand. He had four triple century partnerships in Tests and two in ODIs. That is extremely rare indeed. They all came at a time when the chips were down.
Where would VVS Laxman's 281 be without Dravid?
As a captain, when things were not working out, he again decided to call it a day instead of bringing down Indian cricket. Clearly Dravid knows when to let go.
The same thing has happened now.
After the 0-8 drubbing there has been a clamour in the media and among fans for the veterans to step down. It is no surprise that Dravid has been the first one to call it a day. The Wall (a title which he always shook off rather than embraced) walks into the sunset with his dignity and pride intact.
One of the statements he made at the above mentioned press conference was, "At the end of the day, I knew I had to go and I didn't want to drag it any longer."
Dravid retires as the second highest run getter in the history of Test cricket and he was part of the team which became No. 1 in the ICC rankings.
But more than that, Dravid was all about dedication, sacrifice and team spirit.
His Don Bradman oration speech recently was also one of the best cricketing talks ever and one hopes that Dravid continues to be associated with Indian cricket in one form or the other.
So long Dravid and thanks for all the memories and victories!
Also see: Is Rahul Dravid India's greatest Test batsman?More columnsThe author is a Bengaluru-based journalist and blogger.He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/