Bangalore, March 9 (IANS): One of India's favourite cricketing sons and icon Rahul Sharad Dravid announced his retirement from international and first-class domestic cricket at a packed media conference here on Friday.
Looking sprightly and wearing his 39 years lightly, Dravid asserted that his decision to quit the sport that he had played with distinction for some 20 years, 16 of those for India, was not influenced by the slump in his form during the recent Test series in Australia.
Dravid is the second highest run scorer (13,288) in Tests after teammate Sachin Tendulkar. He has 36 Test centuries from 164 matches and scored at an average of 52.31.
"I announce my retirement from all forms of international and domestic cricket. I had to make place for the next generation of cricketers," Dravid said.
Dravid had retired from ODIs in England last year after he was surprisingly picked for the team. His decision comes as a slap on the face of the national selectors, who had ignored him for the last two years. Dravid has 10,889 runs at an average of 39.16 with 12 centuries from 344 ODIs.
Saying that in the past one year, he had given retirement a lot of thought, Dravid said no single event or incident had triggered the decision, which, on the contrary, was based on a combination of factors, including the difficulty of being away from a young and growing family.
"There was no Eureka moment that forced me into taking the decision to retire. A lot of these decisions come to you. I felt it was the right time to move on and for the next generation to come forward," said Dravid in response to a query after reading out his prepared statement.
Dravid, who last year topped the batting charts following a personally profitable tour of England (three centuries) and the home series against the West Indies (two centuries) prior to the tour Down Under, pointed out that the decision to retire was taken on his return from Australia.
"I didn't make this decision based on one series (in Australia). It's a combination of a lot of other things. I needed to be sure I was playing the game for the right reasons.
"I have done that for 16 years. I have had a great run. It's not like I have woken up one morning and decided to retire. At the end of the day, I knew I had to go. I didn't feel the need to drag on any longer," he said.
Dravid disclosed that he had sounded out some of the senior players in the Indian team like Sachin Tendulkar besides the Cricket Board about his decision to retire.
"Yes of course, I spoke with Sachin and other team-mates. I had also kept the Board informed. They were all incredibly supportive," responded Dravid when asked whether he had discussed with Tendulkar.
On his post-retirement plans, Dravid said he will "put his feet up" in June after the IPL and then take a call on the future.
"I will be playing the IPL for two months and then in June, I will put my feet up and think. May be, some time away from cricket will give me a different perspective," said Dravid who is expected to play a key administrative role along with his former India mates Anil Kumble and Javagal Srinath, the president and secretary, respectively, of the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA).
In a lighter vein, Dravid said: "My wife (Vijeeta) actually told me that I will have to get used to a new routine. You might probably see me buying groceries or dropping and picking up my two sons (Samit and Anvay) from school."
In his retirement statement, Dravid said: "I would like to announce my retirement from international and domestic first-class cricket. It has been 16 years since I first played a Test match for India, and I feel it's time for me to move on."
"I have had a wonderful time, but now it is time for a new generation of young players to make their own history and take the Indian cricket team even further."
While thanking his team-mates, the Board, his coaches and KSCA, Dravid said: "I would like to thank the Indian cricket fan, both here and across the world. The game is lucky to have you and I have been lucky to play before you.
"To represent India, and thus to represent you, has been a privilege and one which I have always taken seriously. My approach to cricket has been reasonably simple: it was about giving everything to the team, it was about playing with dignity, and it was about upholding the spirit of the game. I hope I have done some of that. I have failed at times, but I have never stopped trying. It is why I leave with sadness but also with pride."