Adelaide: Embattled Rahul Dravid on Saturday made it clear that he has not taken any decision on retirement from international cricket but admitted that his glorious career was "definitely nearer the end than the beginning".
One of modern cricket`s greatest batsmen, Dravid managed just 194 runs at an average of 24.25 in India`s 0-4 drubbing in Australia, their second successive on foreign shores after an identical result in England, thus fuelling speculation in the media over a possible retirement.
"I am definitely nearer the end than the beginning, there is no doubt about that. I haven`t made any decision and there is no need to make any decisions now, we`re not playing another Test match for seven to eight months so we`ll see how it pans out.
"At my stage in my career it`s always about taking it a series at a time and not looking too far ahead, so we`ll see what happens," Dravid was quoted as saying by the `Sydney Morning Herald`.
The numero uno Test side in the not-too-distant past, India relinquished the status after the drubbing in England, and a similar outing Down Under has only made matter worse.
Australia thrashed India by 298 runs to complete a series whitewash at the Adelaide Oval here.
But Dravid emphasised the importance of India being a strong and passionate Test nation for the benefit of world cricket.
"We haven`t done so well abroad over the last couple of series but I`m hopeful that some of the young kids will come through, it might take a bit of time but we`ll build up a strong base.
"India needs to be a strong Test playing nation, there are not too many countries playing cricket and if India is competitive in Test cricket it does make a difference. There are areas we need to improve, especially in these challenging times, but I am hopeful," Dravid said.
With the exception of Virat Kohli, most of the batsmen in the Indian line-up have endured a dreadful series.