The dignified exit without fuss and without rancour is a Rahul Dravid trait.
His crisp statement about retiring from One Day Internationals at Northampton on Saturday evening is in a sense a mirror image of the manner in which he bid adieu to the Indian captaincy in September 2007, though at that time he just sent across a letter to the Board of Control for Cricket in India rather than address an anxious media.
Recalled to the Indian ODI squad, Dravid, being the eternal team man, will perform his duties and then pack his coloured clothes finally and just focus on Tests.
With 10,765 ODI runs, Dravid had proved that he is equally at ease in the rapid world of abridged cricket but the need for younger legs and men who could hammer the ball, especially in the batting-friendly conditions of the Indian subcontinent, meant that the former Indian skipper was left languishing in the sidelines from 2007.
The odd emergency recall, like the last one for the Tri-series in Sri Lanka and the ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa during 2009, did happen for Dravid but largely he was a forgotten man in ODIs until the selectors gazed at him again especially in the seam and swing friendly conditions of England, where the younger crop has struggled.
His father Sharad Dravid, who has seen an ambitious lad evolve into a mighty fine cricketer, had a sense of pride and hope in equal measure when The Hindu contacted him about Dravid's retirement from ODIs. Dignity and grace runs in the family and Sharad Dravid thanked the selectors for reposing faith in his son. “It is great to know that the selectors believe that in tough situations they can bank on Rahul to help the team. It shows his value to the team. It also gives him an opportunity to go out on a positive note in ODIs.
“We had no inkling about his plans to retire. We did speak to him when the news broke about his recall to the Indian ODI squad and later he called us up and informed that he wanted to announce his retirement from limited overs cricket,” Mr. Dravid told The Hindu.
Mr. Dravid said that he respected his son's decision. “It is a personal decision and he has decided that it is time to stop playing ODIs. Remember even now he is extremely fit and he is one of the fittest members in the team but over the last few years he has been in and out of the ODI squad and a lot of young players have stepped in. Let us hope he keeps performing well and goes out on a high.”
Hard work steeped in silence has been Rahul Dravid's forte. Many months back, he walked into the National Cricket Academy at dawn and found that the gates leading into the main enclosure was closed. Instead of fretting and fuming, Dravid looked at the old black and white pictures of past greats and once the academy staff scampered around and opened the gym, he walked in and did his daily workout.
And now that the selectors have realised his worth belatedly, he has respected their judgement but at the same time in his own inimitable understated way has had the last word.
Keywords: Rahul Dravid retirement