Mumbai : Former India captain Rahul Dravid Tuesday said during his 16-year-long career, the Indian team has emerged from being second class citizens on tours to becoming the big boys of world cricket.
“It has been a fascinating journey for me to see where Indian cricket has reached today since I made my debut in 1996. Earlier, whenever we toured we were treated as second class citizens. We were the first to tour England in summer, we only played in smaller grounds. But in 15 years BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) have ensured that we are the big boys of world cricket. And it was possible due to the performance of the Indian team,” said Dravid, during his felicitation by the BCCI here.
Dravid said the sport helped him to live a dream.
“I have had great wins and crushing defeats. I have learnt we can endure and we can survive. It humbled me. Cricket allowed me to play on great grounds of which I had only heard of on the radio with my father,” he said.
An emotional Dravid recalled some of the memorable moments of his glorious 16-year long career and thanked his former team mates Anil Kumble, Sourav Ganguly, V.V.S.Laxman and Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
“Thanks Anil, Sourav, Mahi (Dhoni) and Laxi. I would like to believe that we took a great legacy of the Indian team forward. I have no doubt the present team will even take it to greater heights,” said Dravid.
Dravid also had some special words for Laxman.
“Laxman without you Calcutta was not possible. It was a privilege for me to watch one of the best knocks by an Indian batsmen. And thank for your partnership in the slip, where we had lot of discussions ranging from Ranji Trophy to why architects were not making good houses,” he said.
Dravid admitted he would miss Kumble’s intensity and said the partnership he formed with Ganguly as a vice-captain was great.
“Anil I will miss your intensity. Sourav ours was a great partnership. As you would expect with captains and vice-captains it was like a relationship between husband and wives. We have come out with flying colours,” he said.
Ganguly rated Dravid as one of the greatest batsman ever.
“During my captaincy you (Dravid) and John (Wright) did a lot of work behind the doors to build a strong Indian team. Your are one of the best No.3 batsman in World cricket, I have seen. You were one of the pillars through which Indian cricket went forward. You are one of the greatest batsmen not just in India but in world cricket,” said Ganguly.
Dravid also told Dhoni that he was proud of him.
“Mahie watching you lift the World Cup was great after what happened in 2007. As a 10-year-old I had watched Kapil Dev lifting the World Cup in 1983. You have inspired a whole bunch of 10 year olds by what you and the team did last year. You have the right temperament and ability to take forward the legacy of Indian cricket,” he said.
Dravid said he was blessed and fortunate to live a dream.
“At one time, I was just another kid with a desire to play for India. I feel blessed now that I have lived the dream for over 16 years,” he said.
Right from his first coach Keki Tarapore, to everybody who made a difference to his career, Dravid thanked all.
“I thank everybody right from Keki Tarapore to so many coaches since my time in Karnataka. As a young boy I dreamt of getting an autograph from cricketers. Thanks to all my senior cricketers for leaving behind a legacy that I was conscious of,” he said.
Dravid said he was lucky to get into the records book.
“The various team I have played here will be the highlight of my career. I consider myself lucky to get into the record books,” he said.
Dravid also thanked his parents and wife.
“My parents have made several sacrifices to allow their son live a dream. I think I lived my father’s dream. As a son I can’t ask for any thing more. Now I will take an active part in the life of my kids,” he said. (IANS)