Kolkata, Mar 10: Former India captain Sourav Ganguly described one-time teammate Rahul Dravid as one of the greatest batsmen ever in world cricket, who announced his retirement on Friday. Ganguly praised Dravid's "Mr perfectionist's" determination, cricketing technique and commitment, also said Dravid would be an inspiration for budding cricketers.
"He is one of the greatest batsman in world cricket...Wannabe cricketers can learn a lot from him. It was Rahul's determination, commitment, perfect technique which enabled him to play Test cricket for so many years. Youngsters also need to emulate his attachment to the game," said Ganguly, former Indian captain, after Dravid announced his retirement from international and domestic first class cricket.
Dravid debuted alongside Ganguly for India at the Lord's test in June 1996. The duo shared the dressing room for over 12 years.
Prasing Dravid, Ganguly said it takes a lot of time to get a cricketer like him.
"You cannot get someone like Rahul Dravid in a day. It requires lot of time. To become Rahul Dravid an individual player has to work really hard, he needs to be very high on commitment," he said.
Going back to the memorable days they have spent together, Ganguly remembered the victory over Australia in Adelaide, beating Pakistan in Pakistan and also the World Cup match against Sri Lanka at Taunton in 1999, where both scored centuries.
He rated Dravid's 180 at Eden Gardens against the Steve Waugh-led Australia in 2001 as one of the best knocks of his career.
Dravid's knock along with VVS Laxman's 281 helped India clinch a fascinating 171-run victory which is termed as one of the best comeback in Test cricket history.
Asked about Dravid's statement that the nickname "wall" given to him was also a cause of worry as he feared people talking about "breaching the wall", Ganguly said: "This is his way of thinking. During a career, players get various nicknames. I dont think one should think about such things too much."
"As we all know, he was a perfectionist. He worked so hard... was so sincere. That's the reason he scored so many runs and became the second highest run getter in Test cricket."
Ganguly felt Dravid's decision was"correct", but said, "I feel bad that he had to go at a time when India has lost to Australia so badly. But I don't think that in any way undermines his great performance."
Ganguly felt India's drubbing in Australia, age factor, his poor performance had prompted Dravid to hang his boots. "It was a mixture of everything."
According to Ganguly, retirement is a tough decision. "In any profession, in life, if you have to leave that, one does feel bad. In sports, time is limited. But from Diego Maradona to Pete Sampras, all had to retire. Rahul also had to do so."