Next generation of players will miss Sachin, says Dravid
Former India captain Rahul Dravid is of the view that the team's younger members will miss inspiration in the dressing room when Sachin Tendulkar quits after his 200th Test.
"A young cricketer will lose the inspiration. He loses the opportunity to share a dressing room with Tendulkar, a living legend. It was for me, I was seven years junior to him as a player and just getting into the dressing room and putting your kit bag next to Sachin meant something. It was an inspiration in some level," Dravid said.
"The next generation of players will miss him, not having SRT in the dressing room. He has been an inspiration for long to so many young kids. It's been a big loss. He might not be present there in the dressing room but his legacy would be there for a long time to come. It would be carried by next generation of players," he told ESPNCricinfo.
Dravid, one of India's greatest batsmen himself, said Tendulkar, as a teammate, was always approachable and remained grounded despite being a superstar.
"Sachin was always approachable. He would make you feel extremely comfortable. If he would have carried on as a superstar, no one would have been able to stop him in the Indian dressing room," he said.
"He is a superstar, no doubt about it. The way he presented himself shows that Indian cricket could achieve a lot, grow around him. He helped Indian cricket have a successful period for the last decade and a half or so," he added.
Image: Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar during a nets session at Edgbaston on August 8, 2011
Photographs: Gareth Copley/Getty Images
'Did not get that inkling that Tendulkar would finish with West Indies tour'
Dravid said he knew that the time for Tendulkar to draw curtains on his long and illustrious career was quite close but he had no inkling that the veteran would decide to bid adieu with the home series against the West Indies next month.
"You knew that it was going to happen sooner rather than later. There were indications that he would finish it but he would finish that with the West Indies tour, I did not get that inkling," said Dravid.
Tendulkar, regarded the greatest batsman in contemporary cricket, called it quits from Test cricket on Wednesday, announcing that he will retire after his 200th match, which will come against the West Indies, after an extraordinary career spanning a marathon 24 years.
Image: Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar run between the wickets during Day 2 of the first Test between Australia and India at Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 27, 2011
Photographs: Mark Dadswell/Getty Images
'Great time for Tendulkar to go'
Struggling with form for the last two years, the 40-year-old Tendulkar, who has scored a monumental 15,837 runs in 198 Tests, at an average of 53.86, put an end to intense speculation about his future when he informed the Board of Control for Cricket in India about his decision to retire from Test cricket.
Dravid said Tendulkar chose the perfect time to quit the game given that his last Test will be his 200th overall.
"It's been a great career, a great opportunity for him and for the whole of India... these two matches to recognise what he has done. I think it's a great time for him to go, in a sense the 200th Test match. It's a great occasion for him playing in his 200th Test, probably in Mumbai and in front of his home crowd. It's fantastic for him," Dravid said.
Image: Rahul Dravid congratulates team mate Sachin Tendulkar on getting the wicket of Jacques Kallis during Day 3 of the third Test between South Africa and India at the Sahara Park Newlands Stadium on January 4, 2007 in Cape Town
Photographs: Tertius Pickard/Gallo Images/Getty Images
'Tendulkar seemed comfortable with the decision he made'
Dravid, who retired from international cricket last year after amassing 13,288 runs in 164 Tests and another 10,889 in 344 one-day internationals, said it's very hard to arrive at a decision like this and Tendulkar must have from his heart.
"It wouldn't have been easy for him. He must have known from his heart. He had gone by what his heart told him. You take a lot of advice from family, people who are close to you. But in the end, it's your call and it's been Sachin's call. I was just speaking to him and he seemed comfortable with the decision he made. It's hard to explain these things like how you arrived at such decisions.
"It's just that you feel like that the time is right for you. Sometimes you take a little bit longer to confirm your feelings deep down. Ensure that it's not an emotional decision which you have made. Once you know, then it becomes easier for you. You know you don't have that same energy and drive to keep going. Someone, who has played with the passion that he has, the energy that he has, he would have known that he can't carry on," Dravid said.
Image: Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid during the Cricket World Cup Group A match against Kenya, in Bristol, England, on May 23, 1999
Photographs: Craig Prentis/Allsport