Dravid likely to announce retirement shortly

Dravid likely to announce retirement shortly

Rahul Dravid's glorious international career may have come to an end today, with the veteran batsman likely to announce his retirement shortly.

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The 39-year-old Dravid, one of the game's greatest batsmen, is believed to have told some of his teammates after another failure against Australia in the final Test here, that he had decided to hang his boots. He could not be reached for his comments.

Dravid, like most other Indian batsmen, has had a poor run in the current four-Test series which will conclude tomorrow with India likely to suffer another defeat to give Australia a clean sweep. He made 194 runs at an average of 24.25 in this series.

Dravid has already announced his retirement from one-day cricket and Twenty20. The elegant right hander, nicknamed 'The Wall' for his dour defence, is the second highest run getter in Test history with 13,288 runs, behind only Sachin Tendulkar who has 15,470 runs. He has 36 Test centuries with a highest score of 270 and an average of 52.31.

Dravid has also taken more catches (210) than anyone else in Test history during his 164 Test matches since he made his debut against England at Lord's in 1996. He captained India from December 2005 to August 2007. There is a question mark over another Indian veteran V V S Laxman who too had a miserable run against Australia in the current series. There was no word yet about his future plans.

Since his debut in England, Dravid went on to cement his place in the middle order and along with Tendulkar and Laxman was a key member of India's famed middle order.

Dravid took up the vital number three position in the line-up and played some of his finest knocks for the country in that position.

Armed with an orthodox technique, he became the pivot of the Indian team which not only won matches but also started winning overseas.

At Adelaide in 2003, when India won a Test in Australia for the first time in a generation, he batted 835 minutes over two innings. A few months later, he was at the crease more than 12 hours for the 270 that clinched India's first series win in Pakistan.

Initially he was not suited for one-day cricket but he reoriented his game over the years to become an adept middle-order finisher in the shorter version. He had more than 10,889 runs in 344 ODIs for an average of 39.16. He hit 12 centuries and as many as 53 fifties in ODIs.

Dravid made himself useful for the team by keeping wickets in the ODIs which gave the team management more options to pick either an additional batsman or a bowler.

His 386-run partnership with Laxman at the Eden Gardens against Australia is part of cricketing folklore now as India went on to win the match which many regard as one of the greatest Test matches of all time.

A two-year stint as captain from 2005 to 2007, following Sourav Ganguly's axing, was less successful, though he did lead the side to series victories in England and the West Indies for the first time in a generation.

In the 2009 tour of Sri Lanka, Dravid became the highest catcher in Test cricket going past Australia's Mark Waugh.