Dravid likely to announce retirement


Indian batting superstar Rahul Dravid, the second-highest run scorer of all time in Tests, is set to announce his retirement from international cricket on Friday, reports say. The Press Trust of India and the Cricinfo website both said the 39-year-old was poised to call time on his career in the national team after a wretched Test series in Australia, where India were whitewashed 4-0. Dravid, popularly known as “The Wall”, scored only 194 runs in eight innings and was bowled out in six of them as Australian paceman Ben Hilfenhaus repeatedly breached his once-formidable defences. India’s famous but ageing batting stars Dravid, Virender Sehwag, V.V.S. Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar are all under pressure, with the national team in crisis less than a year after it lifted the World Cup on home soil. Dravid is to address a press conference in Bangalore on Friday alongside the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, N. Srinivasan, the Press Trust of India reported, citing a statement. The one-time India captain, lauded for his sportsmanship and level temperament, retired from short formats of the international game last year, but had vowed to continue in Tests. He was one of few players to emerge with any credit after India’s disastrous tour of England last year where he defied the years to crack three hundreds in different innings. As speculation grew in India about his imminent retirement, tributes poured in. “Holding back my thoughts till I hear a formal announcement, but if he retires it will be an emotional moment for me,” wrote leading cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle on Twitter. Dravid was rumoured to be set to retire in January during the Australia tour, but the reports were dismissed as “baseless” by the team management.