Rahul Dravid's former captains pay glowing tributes to Rahul Dravid, who retired recently
Rahul Dravid's three former captains -- Anil Kumble, Sourav Ganguly and Mahendra Singh Dhoni -- paid him heartwarming tributes at a felicitation ceremony organised by the Board of Control for Cricket in India to commemorate the recently retired batting icon's contribution to Indian cricket yesterday.
Thanks, guys: Rahul Dravid during the BCCI's felicitation function
Kumble, who partnered with Dravid for 55 dismissals in Tests, thanked his teammate for his tally of 619 wickets. "I am glad that I had to only bowl at him in the nets. Otherwise, if I'd been playing for any other international team, I would have to roll in more than 10,000 overs to get to the same number of wickets I ended up with in my career," India's leading wicket-taker said.
"When Rahul's first son, Samit was born, one of our common friends sent a message, saying that 'caught Dravid bowled Kumble' will continue. I messaged him saying, it was not going to be 'caught Dravid bowled Kumble', but 'caught Kumble bowled Dravid'.
"That's because my son will not end up becoming a bowler, and I'm sure Rahul's son will not end up becoming a batsman because it's a huge task to score more than 23,000 international runs. It's easier to beat his dad's bowling records. He just has to take two wickets at the international level to be better than him. And for my son, he has to score just 18 runs at an average to be better than his dad in batting," Kumble joked.
When India won Test matches under Ganguly's captaincy, vice-captain Dravid averaged 102.80. Ganguly thanked Dravid for being an influential deputy during India's golden run between 2001 and 2005. "I was very lucky to have a vice-captain like Rahul for five years. A lot of people talk about me, and my captaincy. But not many knew about the role that Rahul and John (Wright) played behind the scenes.
Not just the runs...
"Rahul, it's not just the runs that you have scored, but it is the era that you played in that is important. You played at a time when Indian cricket went from strength to strength. That's a bigger contribution you've made than all the runs and catches you took," said Ganguly.
Dhoni, who made his Test debut under Dravid, said: "He is the greatest No 3 batsman ever produced by India. He always had the answer to everything, he always said 'yes.' He was ready to be a 'keeper or opener at a flash. As a wicketkeeper myself, I can say that he took some catches that a regular 'keeper would have spilled. These words of mine are not just from me, but a tribute from youngsters who have learnt a lot from Jam.
"Initially, I was very scared to go up and talk to him. I never called him Rahulbhai. I always called him Jam. I was fortunate and unfortunate to see the ups and downs of Indian cricket -- especially the 2007 World Cup when Rahulbhai was captain. But we won a lot of games after that under his captaincy -- and that was one of the best runs we had in one-day cricket.
"Dravid was someone who walked through obstacles, and not around them. He is leaving behind a legacy that will continue. What he has transferred to us, the youngsters, hopefully we have learnt enough from you. I know you are always there to guide them."
Tendulkar is in London
Sachin Tendulkar was not present at Rahul Dravid's felicitation ceremony yesterday. When asked, a Board of Control for Cricket in India official said, "he has gone to London for some personal work.
He had informed Rahul and the BCCI before his departure. It was a pre-planned trip, so nothing much could be done. Also, his flight was in the afternoon. It was unfortunate that he had to miss out such a great function."