Bangalore: After 164 Tests spanning nearly 17 years, Rahul Dravid has announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket.
Dravid, India's best Test No. 3 and the second-highest run-scorer in Test cricket, informed the media of his decision during a press conference at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in his home city of Bangalore, with the BCCI president N Srinivasan and former India captain Anil Kumble at his side.
"I never thought I would play for India that long. I want to thank all my junior coaches, international coaches for supporting me," said Dravid. "I have failed at times but I have never stopped trying, which is why I leave with sadness but also with pride.
India's most prolific No. 3 Test batsman has called time on a career spanning nearly 17 years.
"I hope the youngsters in the team do even better than I did. It's been a wonderful journey. I thank the selectors, who rarely get thanked for what they do.
I thank all the captains I played under, all the teams I was part of. It's time for me to move on. I retire with sadness and pride."
Dravid's announcement was expected after a poor final tour of Australia, in which he scored 194 runs in eight innings. Prior to that, however, he was the highest run scorer in Test cricket for 2011 at the age of 38, making him the oldest active cricketer.
In 164 Tests Dravid scored 13,288 runs at an average of 52.31, with 36 centuries and 63 fifties. In 344 one-day internationals he amassed 10,889 runs – the seventh highest of all time - at 39.16, with 12 hundreds and 83 fifties. Dravid captained India in 25 Tests, winning eight, losing six and drawing 11.
Dravid, 39, made his Test debut at Lord's in June 1996 – five years after his first-class debut for Karnataka - scoring 95 in his first Test innings. His first century (148) came in his ninth Test, against South Africa in Johannesburg in January 1997. He finished his career with 36 Test centuries, the fourth most for any batsman in history, and his 164 Test caps are the third most of all time behind Sachin Tendulkar (188) and Steve Waugh (168).
Among Dravid's career highlights in Test cricket are his four successive centuries in four innings in 2002 – including 148 in India's victory at Headlingley - and his double-centuries to delivery India famous overseas victories in Adelaide and Rawalpinde. On a minefield of a Kingston pitch in 2006, Dravid's twin fifties (81 and 68) delivered India their second series victory in the West Indies, 25 years after Ajit Wadekar's team triumphed.
At home, Dravid will be best remembered for his 180 in an epic partnership with VVS Laxman in Kolkata in 2001, in which he joined Laxman with India 42 runs from an innings defeat and lifted them from ignominy to incredible triumph, as well as his twin centuries at the same venue in 2005 to beat Pakistan.
In one-day cricket, Dravid's highlights include 145 in a record stand of 318 in 45 overs with Sourav Ganguly at Taunton during the 1999 World Cup - in which he was the leading run-scorer - and a run-a-ball 153 in the company of Tendulkar to break that record with 331 in 46 overs against New Zealand in Hyderabad. Labeled a Test player in the early stages of his career, Dravid worked hard on his game to become an integral part of India's ODI team and finished with over 10,000 runs at a more than respectable average of 39.16.
Over the course of his 17-year international career, Dravid set a host of milestones. He was the first batsman to score a century in all Test-playing countries, the first batsman to score 10,000 runs at No. 3, the batsman to face the most deliveries in Test cricket, the longest in ODI cricket to not score a duck (120 innings) and finished as the man with the most catches in Test cricket.
He leaves the game as a true all-time great.