Dravid bows out with praise for former team-mate Tendulkar
Last Updated: March 23, 2012 5:49pm
India stalwart Rahul Dravid announced his retirement from international cricket earlier this month, and took time to hail fellow batting legend Sachin Tendulkar while reflecting on his time in the game.
Dravid, who became known as 'The Wall' during a career which saw him rack up over 13,000 Test runs, enjoyed a lengthy period as one of the world's leading batsmen - but was quick to credit Tendulkar, who carved out his 100th international century last week against Bangladesh.
The 39-year-old said of Tendulkar: "It's phenomenal. He's a great cricketer. What can you say about him? He's almost made us reset and re-look at benchmarks and what standards can be achieved in terms of batsmanship in our game.
"One hundred 100s is something that probably nobody ever thought about and now he's made us reassess that. Now it is a new benchmark. What else can you say about a guy other than that he constantly resets the benchmark for this game?"
Dravid and Tendulkar have been arguably the two strongest pillars of a golden age of Indian batting that also included the likes of Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman and Virender Sehwag, but Dravid refused to be drawn on whether Tendulkar should join him in calling time on his international career.
Tendulkar has given no indication that the milestone he achieved at Mirpur was what was holding him back from quitting the India scene, and Dravid is adamant that the decision is for his old friend to make alone.
He said: "I don't know. It's really up to him. He's said in interviews lately that he's still enjoying the game and he's keen to play. It's a decision that he has to make and not a decision that I or anyone else should make."
On his own future in the game, Dravid added: "Obviously there's the IPL for a couple of months but it's only after that finishes in June that I'll have the chance to sit down and reassess. I've retired from Test cricket and first-class cricket and I won't be playing that again. Maybe the MCC will ask me to come and play the odd charity game!"
There was also time for Dravid to make his judgment on the current England side, who have seen their stranglehold on world Test cricket weakened somewhat by the 3-0 series defeat to Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
With Andrew Flower's men due to tour Sri Lanka and India this year, Dravid feels the current England squad are entering a crucial phase of their evolution.
He said: "I think it depends on how England perform in the subcontinent. They rightly deserve the number one ranking - they've played some very good cricket in winning the Ashes and then they beat us in England.
"They've done well in those conditions and deserve to be at the top but as we've seen against Pakistan in the UAE they suffered a setback so I think the tours of Sri Lanka and India later on in the year is going to be very important for them.
"It's important to retain the top ranking but I think what's more important is to prove you are able to do well in all conditions. I think you value your performances in conditions you are not used to and they have a poor record in sub-continent but the players to change that now."