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Dravid wants to sign off in style

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Rahul Dravid

Rahul Dravid, who is set to play his 334th and last ODI tomorrow, said: “I would like to sign off with a win. It would be lovely for India."

Rahul Dravid is hoping to mark his 344th and final one-day international appearance with a long overdue first victory over England this summer for India.

Dravid, one of cricket’s modern greats and by common consent a paragon of exemplary behaviour on and off the pitch, may well be playing his last match in Britain of any description at Cardiff’s SWALEC Stadium tomorrow.

The 38-year-old admits this summer has been a “bitter-sweet” experience, as he has continued to churn out runs in vain while India first of all lost their number one Test status to England in an unexpected 4-0 series romp for the hosts, then were second best in a one-off Twenty20 and are 2-0 down with only one to play in the NatWest Series.

He will be absent following retirement for next month’s five-game rematch in India, but may yet be back to play in England - along with his fellow revered veteran Sachin Tendulkar - should his country remain in the top four of the International Cricket Council rankings to qualify for the inaugural Test championship in 2013.

A 13th ODI hundred would be a fitting farewell, of course, but Dravid is more concerned with India’s fortunes.

“I would like to sign off with a win. It would be lovely for India,” he said. “We have had a tough tour, and it would be lovely to finish with a win - irrespective of what I get.”

Dravid, famously nicknamed ’The Wall’ for his determination and watertight technique in Test cricket, adapted his game effectively to the 50-over format.

The results have been laudable, and he will leave the ODI stage rightly at ease that he has been such a high achiever.

“It does not feel like I am finishing, or retirement, or the end, because I will be playing Test cricket,” he said “But it is a nice time to reflect on what I think was a pretty pleasing and satisfying one-day career.

“I don’t think there is going to be anything different in my life from tomorrow onwards. My wife did mention there were some very nice things written about me during the Test series, back in India.

“It was a bit bitter-sweet in the sense there was a lot of satisfaction personally against a tough attack and scoring runs, but it has been a disappointing tour for us. I am still truly humbled by some of the nice things said about me in the last few weeks.”

With characteristic modesty, Dravid cites an event in which he himself played no part as perhaps the proudest moment of his cricketing life.

He was not selected in the squad which this year won India’s second World Cup, on home ground, yet he took more pleasure in that collective success than in any of his own personal glories.

He added: “I’m not dreading quitting. You just recognise that the time has got to come at some stage when you have got to move on.

“I am happy and I am comfortable with that. I have had some highs and lows in both forms of the game. That is life, that is cricket - and it has taught me a lot about myself as a person and how to deal with a lot of things. I have absolutely no regrets.”

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