Bangalore, Mar 9 (ANI): Former Indian skipper Rahul Dravid, who announced his retirement from Test cricket today, said he considered himself fortunate to have played alongside some of the finest legends of the game.
"In the Indian team, I was fortunate to be part of a wonderful era when India played some of its finest cricket at home and abroad. Many of my teammates have become legends, not just in India, but in the wider cricketing world," Dravid told a press conference at the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) here.
"I admired them, learnt from them and I leave the game with wonderful memories and strong friendships. It is a great gift to have," he added.
Dravid, who brought the curtains down on a glorious 16-year sports career, recalled the contributions made by his coaches at different levels in helping him achieve his goals in the cricketing world.
"No dream is ever chased alone. As I look back, as one does at such a time, I have many people to thank for supporting me, teaching me and believing in me. My junior coaches in Bangalore and at various junior national camps inculcated in me a powerful love of the game, which has always stayed with me," said Dravid.
"My coaches at the international level have added to my craft and helped shape my personality. They pushed me and challenged me to keep getting better. The physios and trainers worked hard to keep me fit-not an easy job-and allowed me to play late into my 30s," he added.
He also lauded the assistance from the Indian selectors and the captains under which he played the game.
"The selectors who rarely receive any credit in India had, on occasions, more confidence in me than I had in myself and I am grateful for that. The various captains I played under offered me guidance and inspired me," said Dravid.
Dravid also acknowledged the contributions made by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) in grooming him as a player by providing all facilities required to play the game.
"The KSCA and BCCI have provided me a platform and the facilities to play the game.But most of all, I have to thank the teams I played with. I know what I am going to miss the most is being part of a unit," said Dravid.
"The joy of bonding together and striving to achieve a goal is what made cricket special for me. I was lucky in my early years to play for a Karnataka team, which was trying to forge itself into a strong side, and they were years of fun and learning," he added.
Dravid also thanked his family members for being always there for him in tough times and creating a positive environment
"A career in sport is almost impossible to manage without the support, guidance, and reassurance of family and friends. During tough times-and there have been many-they are the ones we go to. I found strength and encouragement from my parents (Sharad and Pushpa ) and brother (Vijay) and they created around me a positive environment which was essential to my success," said Dravid.
"My wife, Vijeeta, has been a remarkable partner in my journey. She has made sacrifices in her own career and has almost been a single parent bringing up our children alone as I travelled abroad to play. Whenever challenges appeared, she was always there, as a sounding board, as an ally and as a guide. Being away from my family became harder and harder through the years and I look forward now to spending time at home and doing the simple things, like just taking my sons (Samit and Anvay) to school," he added.
Dravid, 39, nicknamed "The Wall", is the second highest run getter in Test history with 13,288 runs, behind only batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar, who has 15,470 runs.
The elegant right-hander scored 36 Test centuries with a highest of 270 and ended up with an average of 52.31.
He took 210 catches, a record in Test history in 164 Tests.
Dravid captained the side from December 2005 to August 2007.
Dravid retired from the limited overs format of the game last year after India's disastrous tour of England. (ANI)
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