Adelaide: Australian opener Matthew Hayden said Adam Gilchrist was one of the greatest players the game had ever seen after the brilliant wicketkeeper-batsman announced his retirement here.
Gilchrist told teammates of his shock decision before the third day's play in the fourth Test against India and will hang up the gloves after the upcoming triangular one-day series.
A veteran of 96 Tests and 277 one-day internationals and the new record holder for most Test dismissals, Hayden said Gilchrist was one of the most influential players the game had produced.
"It's massive news and it's surprising news," he said.
"From my point of view I feel incredibly privileged to have played with Adam for as long as I have.
"He's held the baggy green in his hand with great pride, great passion, great discipline and great work ethic," he said.
"A fantastic leader and an ability to be able to change the game and that has made Adam one of the greatest players ever to play the game.
"Greatness is something we have aspired to be in the Australian cricket team and he's fulfilled everything that has been asked of him."
Hayden said Gilchrist would leave a lasting legacy in world cricket.
"The flamboyant nature equals the greats of Vivian Richards and some of the other calypso characters that we've seen over the years," he said.
"It's all been such an inspiring and stellar performance over such a long period of time.
"Longevity is the ultimate pat on the back when it comes to a professional sportsman.
"He has played with remarkable skill, he has entertained and done so in a statesmanlike way, bonding cricketers throughout the world and changing cricketers throughout the world with how he has played the game.
"A tremendous individual."
Hayden said the popular left-hander would be deeply missed in the Australian team and said it was a privilege to partner Gilchrist at the top of the order in one-day cricket.
Hayden said it had been an emotional time when Gilchrist informed his fellow players.
"Adam informed everyone individually this morning, there was a lot of emotion," he said.
"What he wants out of this is to celebrate this Test match.
Hayden wouldn't be drawn on the reasoning behind Gilchrist's decision, just 24 hours after seemingly indicating he wanted to play on.
"Adam will talk about his emotions at the end of this Test match," he said.
"Adam will tell you why he actually decided to retire."
Hayden, the oldest player in the Australian team, said he had no intention of retiring any time soon.