Dravid gifts himself a gritty ODI farewell

Updated: 17 September 2011 10:11 IST

Rahul Dravid provided a fitting end to a glorious one-day international career that spanned 10,889 runs in 344 matches over more than 15 years when he hit a typically assured 69 against England in Cardiff on Friday.

Dravid gifts himself a gritty ODI farewell

Cardiff:

Rahul Dravid provided a fitting end to a glorious one-day international career that spanned 10,889 runs in 344 matches over more than 15 years when he hit a typically assured 69 against England in Cardiff on Friday.

For a player supposedly ill-suited to the pace and style of limited-overs cricket, Dravid's record makes for staggering reading.

England's players certainly thought so as they raced from all corners of the Sophia Gardens outfield to congratulate the 38-year-old Indian batsman as he departed for the pavilion at the end of his final one-day innings.

After being bowled by Graeme Swann, Dravid - nicknamed "The Wall" for his impenetrable defense and his indomitable spirit - was afforded the most touching of standing ovations by the crowd and his teammates, who lined the balcony outside their dressing room to hail a player who undoubtedly ranks among the greatest Indian cricketers of all time.

"Well played the wall!" India batsman Yuvraj Singh posted on his Twitter feed. "Great end to a glorious one day career ! You will be missed jam god bless."

Dravid amassed 12 centuries and 83 fifties - one coming off just 22 balls - in a one-day career that began in 1996, when he scored 3 against Sri Lanka on his debut.

After following that up with knocks of 4, 3, 11 and 13 in his next four innings, there were no early signs that he would develop into a player who, along with Sachin Tendulkar, would underpin India's batting lineup for years to come.

"He has had a fabulous career as a one-day player and has contributed so much to Indian cricket," Tendulkar told Friday's edition of The Indian Express. "I have no doubt that he is and will continue to be a role model for all of us."

More suited to the long-haul demands of Test cricket, which he will continue to play, Dravid nevertheless found a way to conquer the limited-overs format.

"He may not give you a quick start, but he will surely make his innings count in terms of time spent at the crease. You need such players in the team, and he was the best man for the job," Tendulkar said. "He is the perfect team man."

India have endured a miserable summer in England, losing all four Test matches to relinquish its top ranking while the team was also defeated in a one-off Twenty20 match.

Through it all, Dravid has been the only player - batsman or bowler - to stand up to the dominant English, hitting three sublime centuries in the Test series.

It has earned him even more respect from the already admiring English media.

In a column in The Guardian, cricket correspondent Mike Selvey labeled him a "giant of the game."

"All summer we have seen standing ovations every time Sachin Tendulkar has left the dressing room, and little more than polite applause for Dravid, an undemonstrative dignified man," Selvey wrote on the eve of Dravid's farewell match.

"It would be nice to think that this time the rafters might ring for him."

They certainly did on Friday.

Topics : Cricket Rahul Dravid Virat Kohli Australia India West Indies England India in England, 2011
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