Kolkata: Saluting Rahul Dravid, who called time on his glittering international career Friday, his one-time teammate Sourav Ganguly described him as one of the greatest batsmen ever in world cricket and said "Mr perfectionist`s" determination, cricketing technique and commitment would be a lesson for budding players.
"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.
Ganguly debuted alongside Dravid for the national team at the Lords Test in June 1996, and the duo shared the Indian dressing room for over 12 years. For a substantial period, Ganguly was Indian captain, with Dravid his deputy. Later, Ganguly also turned out for the Indian team under Dravid`s captaincy.
Showering praise on Dravid, Ganguly said it takes long years 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.
Recounting the memorable time they have spent together, Ganguly mentioned the World Cup match against Sri Lanka at Taunton in 1999, where both of them got hundreds, the victory over Australia at Adelaide, and also beating Pakistan in Pakistan.
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.
Thanks to Dravid`s innings and V.V.S. Laxman`s 281 and the 376- run stand between the two in the second innings, the Ganguly-led India crafted a fascinating 171-run win after conceding the follow on, in an epic match.
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 don`t 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."
He termed Dravid`s decision as "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 poor performance, his individual below par show in Australia, and advancing age had prompted Dravid to hand his gloves. "It was a mixture of everything."
Ganguly said retirement was always 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."