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Rahul Dravid set to announce retirement


Rahul Dravid, one of cricket's greats, appears set to retire from the sport at international level tomorrow.

The 39-year-old, a bedrock of India's star-studded batting line-up over the past 15 years, has called a press conference which will also be attended by national board president N Srinivasan.

Dravid, who marked his debut with an innings of 95 at Lord's in 1996, has made more than 13,000 Test runs and is second in his sport's all-time list of highest career run-makers behind only his long-time team-mate Sachin Tendulkar.

The former captain's contribution to an era of unprecedented Indian progress to the top of world cricket has included not only 36 Test hundreds, at an average of 52.31, but a willingness to accommodate the preferences of others by moving up and down the order.

It was as an emergency opener - after Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag's injuries - that Dravid rose above the collective failures of his team-mates, Tendulkar included for the most part, to make two of his three hundreds in India's 4-0 defeat in England last summer.

Dravid has also been a world-class one-day international batsman, with more than 10,000 runs in the book to prove it, and his abilities as a stand-in but nonetheless often regular wicketkeeper and outstanding slip fielder have also served India especially well.

He was unable, however, to raise his game one last time in India's recent defeat in Australia - their second successive by a 4-0 margin in Tests - where 'The Wall' was clean bowled in six of eight innings which mustered under 200 runs.