Superstar Indian batsman Rahul Dravid announced his retirement from international cricket on Friday at the age of 39, bringing the curtain down a 16-year career at the top.
"It is time to move on and let a new generation of players make their own history," Dravid told reporters at a crowded news conference in Bangalore alongside Indian cricket board president Narayanaswamy Srinivasan.
The stylish batsman was the number two run-getter in Test cricket behind compatriot Sachin Tendulkar with 13,288 runs from 164 matches at an average of 52.31 with 36 centuries.
"When I started, I could never imagine that this long journey will take me so far," Dravid said. "In the Indian team I was fortunate to be part of a wonderful era.
"Many of my team-mates have become legends, not just in India but in the wider world... I leave the game with wonderful memories and great friendships."
The man known as "the Wall" for his immaculate technique, was also one of only 10 batsmen to score more than 10,000 runs in one-day cricket, which he quit last year to prolong his Test career.
His one-day tally stood at 10,889 runs from 344 matches at an average of 39.16 with 12 centuries.
Dravid's retirement puts the focus on India's other ageing batsmen, Sachin Tendulkar, 39 next month, and Venkatsai Laxman, 37, who are under pressure to consider their future after the team's disastrous tour of Australia.
"I knew in my heart. I knew deep down that the time was right. I was happy and comfortable with what I have achieved with what I have done," Dravid explained.
Dravid will continue playing in the lucrative Indian Premier League Twenty20 event where he will lead Rajasthan Royals this year after the retirement of Australian spin legend Shane Warne.
'The Wall' is the 'nicest guy in cricket’
Stand-in Australia captain Shane Watson described Rahul Dravid as "the nicest guy" in world cricket ahead of the Indian batsman's likely retirement announcement on Friday.
Watson, who played with Dravid for the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League (IPL), was full of praise for the 39-year-old before Australia's one-day squad departed for the West Indies.
"I was actually talking to Rahul during the IPL last year and he was contemplating whether he was actually going to come out to Australia," Watson was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald, referring to the recent series.
"But after having such an amazing England series he obviously felt it would be a great option to come out to Australia.
"I suppose in the end it showed the dominance of our bowlers because Rahul was still in pretty good touch but our bowlers just bowled so well to him."
The Press Trust of India and the Cricinfo website on Thursday both said Dravid was poised to call time on his international career after the wretched Test series in Australia in which India were whitewashed 4-0.
Watson said he felt fortunate knowing the Indian.
"He's probably the nicest guy -- no, he is the nicest guy -- that I've met in cricket. He's a phenomenal man," he said.
"He loves the game with so much passion, it's in his blood and in his heart. He is certainly going to be sorely missed by the Indian public and the cricket-loving public as well.
Dravid, popularly known as "The Wall", scored only 194 runs in eight innings in Australia and is expected to announce his retirement at a press conference scheduled for Friday in Bangalore.
His 13,288 Test runs leave him behind only fellow Indian Sachin Tendulkar on the all-time list.
Tendulkar hails Dravid
India's batting great Sachin Tendulkar paid rich tributes to his team-mate.
"There was and is only one Rahul Dravid. There can be no other," Tendulkar told the NDTV news channel. "I will miss Rahul in the dressing room and out in the middle."
Dravid, 39, is the number two run-getter in Test cricket behind Tendulkar with 13,288 runs from 164 matches at an average of 52.31 with 36 centuries and 63 fifties.
He is also one of only 10 batsmen to score more than 10,000 runs in one-day cricket. His tally stands at 10,889 runs from 344 matches at 39.16 with 12 centuries.
Dravid, popularly known as "The Wall" for his immaculate technique, had already quit limited-overs international cricket last year to concentrate on prolonging his Test career.
Tendulkar, who made his debut seven years before Dravid, said he shared some of the "best moments" with him both on and off the field.
"Our many century partnerships are testimony to the hours we spent together in the middle," said Tendulkar. "For someone with a record like that, no tribute can be enough."
The famous, but ageing batting stars Dravid, Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Venkatsai Laxman are all under pressure after India endured a Test crisis following the victory in the limited-overs World Cup last year.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men crashed to identical 4-0 Test defeats in England and Australia, and failed to win the one-day series.
Dravid was one of few players to emerge with any credit after the disastrous tour of England where he defied the years to crack three centuries in four Tests.
But he managed just 194 runs in eight innings in Australia, where he was bowled six times, indicating perhaps that his reflexes were slowing down.
Rahul Dravid factfile
Full name: Rahul Sharad Dravid
Age: 39 years
Date of birth: January 11, 1973
Major teams: India, Karnataka, Kent
Test debut: v England, Lord's, 1996
One-day debut: v Sri Lanka, Singapore, 1996
Twenty20 debut: v England, Manchester, 2011
Matches 164, Runs 13,288, Highest 270, Average 52.31, Centuries 36, Fifties 63
Matches 344, Runs 10,889, Highest 153, Average 39.16, Centuries 12, Fifties 83.
Match 1, Runs 31, Highest 31, Average 31.00.
- First batsman to score a century in all Test-playing nations.
- Most catches in Test cricket (210).
- Second-highest run-maker in Test cricket after Sachin Tendulkar.
- One of Wisden's cricketers of the year in 2000.
- Won the International Cricket Council's player of the year and Test player of the year awards in 2004.
- Most century partnerships in Test cricket (88).
Leading run-scorers in tests
Player Country Span Runs
1. Sachin Tendulkar* India 1989- 15,470
2. Rahul Dravid India 1996-2012 13,288
3. Ricky Ponting* Australia 1995- 13,200
4. Jacques Kallis* South Afrcia 1995- 12,367
5. Brian Lara West Indies 1990-2006 11,953
6. Allan Border Australia 1978-1994 11,174
7. Steve Waugh Australia 1985-2004 10,927
8. Sunil Gavaskar India 1971-1987 10,122
9. Mahela Jayawardene* Sri Lanka 1997- 10,086
10. Shivnarine Chanderpaul* West Indies 1994- 9,709
(* still active)