It was fitting that Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar played their last match in a final. Sunday’s Champions League Twenty20 final was between the Rajasthan Royals and the Mumbai Indians, and marked the last match Dravid will ever play, and the last time Tendulkar will walk out in any format other than Tests. It’s a testament to both players’ careers and the adulation of the crowds that, despite their lacklustre performances (Sachin scored 15 of 13 balls, and Dravid 1 of 2 balls), the crowd nevertheless gave them each a standing ovation when they returned to the pavilion. That is as it should be. No amount of words will thank them enough for their contributions better than a packed cricket stadium ringing with thunderous applause.
There will never be two players like them. Dravid’s sheer dependability, the quality that elevated him from ‘Jammy’ to ‘The Wall’, has seen India through countless trials. And almost anything written or said about Sachin falls short of describing just how much the Indian cricket team, and the entire nation, depended on him. Their peaks may be long behind them, and the Twenty20 format may not be one suited to their style of batting, but it is without a doubt that cricket will be poorer for their departure.