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Cricketing world pays rich tributes to Dravid

The cricketing world paid rich tributes to Rahul Dravid, lauding the batting legend's conduct on and off the field after he announced his retirement from international cricket at his home town Bangalore, Friday.

cricket Updated: Mar 09, 2012 22:51 IST

The cricketing world paid rich tributes to Rahul Dravid, lauding the batting legend's conduct on and off the field after he announced his retirement from international cricket at his home town Bangalore, Friday.

India's legendary all-rounder Kapil Dev, who also led the team to its maiden World Cup win in 1983, commended Dravid for his behaviour and compared him to Australian great Don Bradman in terms of his overseas record.

"He is a hero, in the way he plays cricket and conducts himself. A true sportsperson. He is the only cricketer after Bradman to do so well abroad. He is a champion," said Kapil.

"It is good that he will play in the (Indian Premier League) IPL and now he can play without any pressure. It will benefit youngsters having him around. He will always be remembered for what he has given to Indian cricket."

Former captain Ajit Wadekar called Dravid a complete cricketer and praised his ability to concentrate for long hours.

"He was an absolutely complete cricketer with tremendous concentration and dedication. In technique, the man who came closest to him was Sanjay Manjrekar," said Wadekar.

Wadekar felt the void left behind by the retirement of Dravid will be very difficult to fill.

"He has scored the highest number of runs after Sachin and also played the highest number of Test matches after Sachin. It's impossible to have another Rahul Dravid and impossible to fill up the void," he said.

The former India captain and coach also felt that like Dilip Vengsarkar before him, Dravid's great innings had been overshadowed by others during his long career.

"Some of his greatest innings (notably of 180 against Australia) was overshadowed by VVS Laxman (281) (in 2000-01 at Kolkata). In this respect, he was like Dilip Vengsarkar whose knocks had been overshadowed by Sunny (Gavaskar)," Wadekar said.

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly described Dravid as one of the greatest batsmen ever in world cricket. He 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 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 the 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.

India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh said Dravid's commitment to the game was an example for all cricketers.

"Cricket is defined as a gentleman’s game and Dravid is the perfect example of it. He has so much love about his colleagues and players, who played with him. Even when he decided to quit, he called us up. He said he did not want us to know about it from media reports. I knew about it three days back. As a captain, he was always only a phone call away," said Harbhajan.

"What I liked about Dravid was his commitment to the game. He was always fully prepared before any game -- whether it is a Test match of a Ranji Trophy tie. His focus was simply amazing."

"Another good thing about Dravid was that he approached the game with the correct mindset. Being an educated person, he is sensible and clear in his thoughts. Always a team man, he was a cricketer who put the team ahead of any individual," he said.

Harbhajan said he would miss Dravid in the slip cordon.

"As a bowler, I will miss Dravid in the slip cordon. Even as a wicketkeeper, he did well. I remember in 2002, he stumped (Kumar) Sangakkara off my bowling in Bristol. It was an amazing act. I really loved it. Players like him taught us how to play cricket. Perhaps, Rahul Dravid is the greatest legend of Indian cricket," he said.

First Published: Mar 09, 2012 22:50 IST