Bangalore: When the whole world - it seemed so at the time - was asking Ricky Ponting to retire, the man who had just overtaken him to become the second-highest run-getter in Test cricket was rooting for him to do well against South Africa. Rahul Dravid relates to what Ponting has been going through. Admittedly Ponting's lean run has been longer - 22 months without a Test century - but Dravid has been in that boat, in 2007 and 2008, when he felt the pressure to just hold on to his spot in the side.
"In some ways, having gone through it myself, I found myself cheering for him, wishing for him to do well in South Africa this time," Dravid told ESPNcricinfo before departing for Australia, where he will surely have more notes to exchange with the man himself. Dravid is one of the seven members of the squad to leave before the rest of the side, in order to get acclimatised to the conditions better. "I have been through all that myself, and can easily relate to him. I was watching those Test matches and was in some way hoping that he would score runs. I hoped he would score runs in this next Test match and then take a bit of a break against us."
Interestingly, Ponting himself had asked Dravid to shut out his critics and stay put when he was struggling. "I actually went and found him at the end of the series and said 'don't you even think about retiring' because I just saw some stuff in a few of his innings that suggested he was still a very, very good player," Ponting had said of his meeting with the opposition's No. 3 before the series in India last year. "I just said 'don't let them wear you down, don't let them get you down'."