Bangalore: It was a poignant moment for India's cricketing icon Rahul Dravid to watch his seven-year-old elder son Samit wield the bat at the M. Chinnaswamy stadium here on Friday as he bid adieu to the game, which earned him sobriquet of being the 'Wall'.
As Dravid settled down for lunch with his wife Vijeta and proud parents Sharad and Pushpa in the pavilion, young Samit chose to play, while his three-year-old sibling Anvay watched a staffer of the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) bowling on a sunny afternoon as a gentle breeze wafted across the grassy ground.
Though not many present in the stadium noticed the kid hitting, of course, a tennis ball, near the western stands, their attention was drawn when paparazzi and videographers vied to capture the moment by rushing to the ground or from the gallery.
Several fans thronging the stadium on the historic occasion were forced to watch Samit batting from outside as tight security kept them off the ground, which was partly visible between stands and through entry/exit gates.
"It's heartening to see such a young boy hold a bat and hit the ball straight. I am surprised to know he is Dravid's son. What a coincidence! Dravid junior batting where his father trained and played for the country over the years," a young fan, Prasanna Kumar told IANS.
With news about Dravid calling it a day becoming public through local papers and news channels, hundreds of fans gathered at the entrance of the stadium on the pavilion side to catch a glimpse of the local legend who represented the country along with ace leg spinner Anil Kumble and speedster Javagal Srinath as the 'famous trio' from Karnataka in the game of glorious uncertainty.
As frenzied fans, paparazzi and videographers jostled for a vantage point to welcome the dashing batsman at the main gate, Dravid gave the slip as he was made to enter the stadium through the adjacent National Cricket Academy (NCA) ground along with Board of Cricket for Control in India (BCCI) president N. Srinivasan for security reasons and avoid the melee.
For the last time as an illustrious Test cricketer, it was a long walk for the 39-year-old Dravid across the stadium to the pavilion and into the conference hall upstairs to announce that it was time to move on from the field into the pages of history.
Interestingly, as Dravid's favourite ground on the home turf, the Chinnaswamy stadium boasts of a 'Wall' that was built in his honour with 10,000 bricks to celebrate his 10,000 Test runs.
Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar unveiled the 'Wall of Commitment, Consistency and Class' October 6, 2008.
Built by Bangalore-based realtor Skyline group, the Wall projects Dravid in metal statue playing his trademark cover-drive and features his finest cricketing moments in both forms of cricket.
Dravid was popularly considered to be "the Wall" of Indian batting for his impenetrable technique and diligence.
Located strategically outside the pavilion-end, the Wall is visible from the famous M.G. Road in downtown and a few yards away from Kumble circle, christened after the leggie's 10-wicket haul in second Test against Pakistan in February 1999 in New Delhi.
The stadium also sports a massive mural of 45x20 feet, created by Dravid's mother Pushpa, with portraits of six famous cricketers of Karnataka.
Engraved in terra cotta and fibre, the tall, orange coloured mural has action postures of the state's six noted cricketers - Venkatesh Prasad, Sunil Joshi and Dodda Ganesh, all-rounder Roger Binny, batsman Sujit Somasunder and wicket-keeper Sadanand Viswanath.