Rahul Dravid announced his retirement from all sort of international cricket. The decision came as a bit of surprise not because we were not expecting that but because of the time and situation it has come. Dravid is 39 years old and has said earlier that he is closer to the end of his career than the beginning.
We all knew that seniors will decide on their future sooner rather than later, but we expected them to announce it before a series, so that we can give them a grand sand off. In recent time we have seen some seniors leaving. Anil Kumble and Sourav Ganguly announced their retirement and received a grand salute from all cricket fans. They took the cricket field on that day and everyone knew that this will be their last.
They way Dravid left was a bit shocking. It’s a fact that there is a lot of time till India play their next Test match. And Dravid did say that if he would have waited for that it would have been for wrong reasons. But, still waiting wouldn’t have harmed him. He is fit as ever, he was never a sprinter and he looks after his body and still is capable of playing a long innings. It’s not that he is leaving cricket, he will play in IPL, than what was the rush?
One reason that comes to mind is after the Australia debacle all hell broke loose in Indian cricket. Every person was demanding that the seniors should be sacked as they are playing for their personal glory than for their country. Media kept on questioning the reason for what they are playing as they are done with what they could have delivered and we want them no more.
Ex-cricketers kept on criticizing the seniors saying that they are not letting the youngsters in the game, there were interviews and from a critic to a fan everyone had the same opinion. BCCI was criticized heavily for not having the guts to drop these players.
It is a fact that Dravid struggled in Australia, but it is also a fact that not so long ago he had the highest Test runs in the calendar year in 2011. He played some great innings; it was his century in West Indies that won India the series away from home. His heroics in England are known to everyone. So, the question that comes to mind is that was he in such poor form that he would have been a burden in the team for the future Test series?
Dravid scored at an average of 24.25 in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Sachin’s average was 35, Sehwag’s 24, Dhoni’s 20 and Laxman’s 19. Apart from him everyone struggled in the England series as well. Leave Dhoni apart, but Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Virender Sehwag come in the list of seniors. Going by the calculations it should have been VVS Laxman who was facing the threat of getting dropped from the side as no one can touch Sachin and Sehwag, no matter how irresponsibly he bats, is the alternative of Dhoni for the captaincy.
Dravid’s retirement may just give Laxman another chance as along with Virat Kohli one more ‘youngster’ can be added to the team. Laxman would have found it very difficult to get into the side if all the seniors would have maintained their position. It is a fact that Laxman is a great player and has scored some of the most important runs by an Indian, but going by the rage that was developing against the greats anything is possible. Laxman has openly admitted that he has no recent plans of retiring and the same goes with Sachin. So, with Dravid leaving can shift the focus from the other two greats. Still, the questions remains the same, was Dravid the man who should have retired first?
By Gaurav Jha