New Delhi: When the country was celebrating the festival of Holi, ‘The Wall’ of Indian cricket, Rahul Dravid was thinking about his retirement from International and domestic cricket.
He is one of the most accomplished and greatest cricketers of his generation. He has played many unforgettable knock in his 16 year long Test career during which he gave India some memorable overseas victories.
The 39-year-old, Karnataka batsman had a wonderful tour of England last year, but failed to perform during the recent tour of Australia prompting calls for his ouster from the team.
Dravid ended his Test career with 13,288 runs - only behind Sachin Tendulkar - in 164 matches, with 36 hundreds and 63 half-centuries at an average of 52.31 and 270 against Pakistan being his highest score.
He played One-Day International cricket from April 1996 to September 2011 and scored 10,889 runs from 344 ODIs with 12 centuries and 83 half centuries at an average of 39.16.
Dravid, who has played many match-winning knocks in his long career, was hard-pressed to pick his favourite innings.
Yesterday in his press conference he said, "It’s Hard to pick one innings ... 180 at Kolkata, 233 in Adelaide... the couple of innings in Jamaica on a low scoring wickets ... Headingley ... it's hard to pick one innings. It's hard to choose between your sons."
He added, “I have played cricket for long and during which I have played many big Test innings. It is very difficult for me to choose one single innings as my favourite.”
Here is the list of seven best Test innings played by RAHUL SHARAD DRAVID
* 180 against Australia at Kolkata in 2001: Regarded as one of the best Test ever played. Rahul Dravid along with VVS Laxman was involved in one of the best partnership in the history of Test cricket at Eden Gardens.
After being asked to follow-on India went on to win the Test against the mighty Aussies. Both the batsmen batted for the whole day and were involved in 376 runs partnership.
* 87 against South Africa at Port Blair in 2001: Indians had to score 395 runs in the second innings to avoid defeat. Dravid along with Deep Das Gupta resumed innings at 28/1 on the fifth day. They added 171 runs in 80 overs to keep South African at bay. The match ended in a draw.
* 144 (not out) against West Indies at Georgetown in 2002: Dravid helped India draw the first Test of the series against the Windies. India was 99/3 when Dravid came to bat at number five and saved India from a defeat as WI had set India a target of 501 runs.. Dravid's 144* helped India seize a trend of defeats in the first Test of overseas series.
* 148 against England at Headingley in 2002: With the help of this innings India went on to beat England in their own backyard after a period of 16 years.
Indians opted to bat and scored 628 runs and went on to win the Test by innings and 46 runs. Dravid was awarded Man of the match.
* 233 and 72* against Australia at Adelaide in 2003: Dravid batted for 853 minutes in this Test. After Australia’s 556 in the first innings Dravid (233) and Laxman (148) propelled India to 523 and Ajit Agarkar scalped six wickets in 16.2 overs to restrict Aussies at 196 in the second innings which set the platform for India’s podium finish. Dravid was awarded Man of the match.
Dravid scored 619 runs in the four match series at a staggering average of 123.80.
* 270 against Pakistan at Rawalpindi in 2004: India had never won a Test series in Pakistan and this was India’s first visit to neighbouring country after a span of 15 years.
Under the captaincy of Sourav Ganguly, Dravid batted for more than 12 hours and helped India post 600 runs against Pakistan’s first innings score of 224. Anil Kumble scalped four and Balaji claimed three victims to end Pakistan’s second innings at 245. India won by innings and 131 runs.
This was India’s first series win in Pakistan.
* 117 against England at Nottingham in 2011: 15 years into his career playing his last series in England, Dravid mesmerized everybody with his classic style and elegant batting. He played and missed many balls, but nothing can beat his patience on the field.
It took him 371 minutes and 209 balls to complete his 24th century, equaling Gavaskar and Lara’s record. Despite his hard work India lost the match by 319 runs.
He scored 461 runs in four Tests at an average of 76.83 and smashed three centuries during his stay on English soil.