BCCI felicitates Rahul Dravid, rich tributes paid to ‘The Wall’

Rich tributes were paid to Rahul Dravid during the felicitation ceremony organized for him by BCCI on Tuesday as former teammates Anil Kumble, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman and MS Dhoni waxed eloquent about ‘The Wall’, who is no doubt amongst the all time best No 3 batsmen of cricket history. It an emotional moment for the man himself, as the cool and restrained Dravid said with voice choking that he had made a pact with himself that he would not cry at any of the functions organized for him over the last three weeks, but he think today that's been tested to the limit.

According to a report in The Times Of India, the only surprising omissions in the guest list that included Indian cricket's who's who, both past and present, were Sachin Tendulkar, with whom Dravid had shared most century partnerships and has scored most runs, and India's first World Cup winning skipper Kapil Dev. Probably, both had prior commitments.

"Cricket's given me some of my most unbelievable experiences," Dravid said, trying hard to stop the tears from rolling down his cheeks. "I've experienced some unbelievable victories and some crushing defeats. What I've learnt through them is that tough times do pass and we can endure and we can survive. Playing for India humbled me and made me appreciate what I did for so long,” Dravid said amidst rapturous applause.

Meanwhile Indian Express writes that finally, Dravid was saying goodbye to exactly what he is going to miss in his retired life. “The last three weeks (since his official announcement) have given me time to sit back and take it all in. It is only in June I will probably get time to be unemployed and have a lot of time on my hands,” said Dravid, insisting he was still trying to stay fit in lieu of the IPL, while adding that going to the gym wasn’t enjoyable anymore. The interim period, he said, also resulted in his crossing off buying groceries from his list of post-retirement household chores and focus solely on cleaning and the kids’ homework.

While thanking every single cricketer he played alongwith, both for Karnataka and India, the former India captain also praised the BCCI’s role in enhancing the reputation of Indian cricket during his time, adds Indian Express.

“I still remember back in 1996, we were treated as second-class citizens. We were the team that got the first tour of summer in England and got sent to some of the smaller grounds. The officials in BCCI have ensured that we are now the big boys of international cricket and that we dictate the terms,” he explained.

Calling himself lucky to be at the "right place at the right time", Dravid went on to salute the backroom boys of Indian cricket. "I want to thank the groundsmen, scorers, umpires and people who work in honorary positions just to help organize a game of cricket and set the stage for us to perform, because without them these hundreds and these achievements wouldn't have been possible."

Quotes from Dravid’s felicitation ceremony:

“Anil, I’ll miss your intensity and desire. I’m not sure I’ll miss the vegetarian meal, without onion and garlic”: Dravid to VVS Laxman

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”: Dravid to Sourav Ganguly

Mahi, 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”: Dravid to MS Dhoni

“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 which took Indian cricket forward. You are one of the greatest batsmen not just in India but in world cricket.”: Ganguly to Dravid