Mumbai, Mar 28 (): The cricket legend Rahul Dravid who retired from international cricket was felicitated by BCCI in Mumbai on Tuesday.
During the emotional felicitation ceremony, Dravid said with a choked voice, “I had made a pact with myself that I would not cry at any of the functions organized for me over the last three weeks, but I think today that’s been tested to the limit.”
Anil Kumble, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, current captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and other team members praised him for his service for the Indian team.
Former skipper Ganguly also heaped praise on the No.3 batsman. ‘He was one of the huge pillars on which Indian cricket [was built as and] went forward. He is one of the greatest batsmen,’ he said.
Dravid said, “Sourav… our relationship was a bit like that of a husband and wife, which had its ups and downs. But I feel we came out with flying colours. Laxman… thank you for one of my greatest days in cricket. Without you, Kolkata [Test against Australia in 2001] wouldn’t have been possible. Thanks for the company at the second slip and for the discussions that ranged from Ranji Trophy to why architects and contractors are not doing a great job.”
Indian skipper MS Dhoni, who made his Test debut under Dravid’s captaincy in 2005, said, “Dravid is someone who walked through obstacles and not around them.”
Dravid told, “Mahi [MS Dhoni], you have to be proud of what you have done with this Indian team. It was a special moment for me to see the group of boys holding the World Cup last year, especially after 2007 [when India were knocked out in the first round].”
“I have been tested to the limit today. The sentiments expressed by Anil Kumble, V.V.S. Laxman, Sourav Ganguly and Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been touching. Sometimes I feel I have not retired what with the IPL keeping me busy. Maybe when June comes, it will start sinking in.”
“I may not be playing for India anymore, but I will watch this young Indian team with great interest with a cup of tea and biscuit in hand. I want the Indian team to be a strong force on and off the field,” said Dravid.
While thanking every single cricketer he played along with, both for Karnataka and India, the former India captain also praised the BCCI’s role in enhancing the reputation of Indian cricket during his time. He also thanked the groundsmen, scorers, umpires and the organisers of cricket matches.
Dravid, announced retirement from first-class cricket nearly three weeks ago after 16 years in the international arena.