Melbourne: Rahul Dravid feared end of his career due to slump in form at one stage but drew inspiration from fellow Indian batting great Sachin Tendulkar's fighting spirit to not only revive his career but also emerge as the leading Test run scorer this season.
Dravid revealed that he felt like it was all over for him due to prolonged lean patch and that he put too much pressure on himself during that period, worrying what would be the best time to call it quits.
But changed his approach by observing how Tendulkar had come out of a similar tough period.
"I thought I had played my last Test match in Australia. If you have been someone who has contributed a lot for your team over the years, then to get the feeling that the team is carrying you is something that is not easy to get used to. It was a difficult period for me," Dravid said in an interview with 'Sydney Morning Herald', recalling how he felt at the end of India's last tour Down Under about four years ago.
Dravid then had equally bad tour against the Australia at home and against England but he was not dropped from the side and finally he succeeded in regaining his touch.
The prolific scorer said he drew inspiration for his revival from Tendulkar, who himself had fought off the trying times with grit.
"He went through a tough period and he came out of that. That was an inspiration to me. Being in the same dressing room as him, he was having a golden run while I was going through one of my worst times.
"You think if he can do it - admittedly, he is a much better player, a greater player - but he didn't stress himself about outside stuff, he didn't answer too many questions about retirement, he just got on with the business of scoring runs.
"I got too caught up in worrying about, what is the right time [to finish], what is the wrong time, is this my last tour, is it not my last tour, rather than just playing. It doesn't matter in the end when you finish. I think over the past year, year and a half, I've just played the game, and when the time comes, it comes," Dravid said.
Dravid, three weeks short of his 39th birthday, said with age a player's batting style changes but an aging cricketer could still make valuable contribution to the team.
"It (age) does change things, there's no doubt about it. You're a different player than you were as a 24-year-old or a 30-year-old. I think actually it is about recognising that, yes, you do change, as a person, as a player.
"Will you be the same player as you were at 28? Maybe not. Can you still be effective and play a role for your side? Probably, yes. A lot of people get hung up on looking at a player in what they think is his prime, and they think he should play like that all the time; it will never happen. You might play the odd innings like that again but even Viv Richards was not the same player when he finished," he said.
Dravid said a player should continue playing the game and even favoured coming out of retirement, just the way legendary Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe did.
"I was reading what Ian Thorpe said when he came out of retirement and somebody asked him about his legacy: 'What are you doing to your legacy by coming back and coming eighth in a race?' And he said, 'I can sacrifice my legacy for the love of the sport," Dravid said.
"That makes sense. It's pure, he [Thorpe] still enjoys swimming and he enjoys competing. He's not concerned about his legacy, he's concerned about what actually made him play the game in the first place, which is that love of the game, the desire to compete and play. And that will go at some stage. That probably should be the decision," he said.
Talking about his batting style, he said he cannot be as aggressive as Indian opener Virender Sehwag and is happy with the way he plays.
"I'm never going to be a Sehwag. That's not me, but when I'm playing well and things are flowing for me, my scoring rate does improve. I feel in good position, I feel balanced, I am able to get fully forward, get fully back. I create more opportunities to score runs.
"Then when I struggle, I can get into my shell and get really tight. Part of my nature is to fight through things. A lot of guys will hit their way out of trouble but my defence mechanism, my fallback, is to fight through the difficult times," he said.