Former players hailed Rahul Dravid, who today retired from international as well as domestic cricket, as among the very best produced by India and said his contribution to Indian cricket has been huge.
Ajit Wadekar, former Indian captain and Coach:
Rahul was like the Great Wall of China for the Indian team and it cannot be created again. He was an absolutely complete cricketer with tremendous concentration and dedication. In technique, the man who came closest was Sanjay Manjrekar.
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.
Some of his greatest innings (notably of 180 against Australia) was overshadowed by VVS Laxman (281) (in 2000-01 at Kolkata).
I think it is the beginning of the end of the era, what was called team of the 90s. We have Virat Kohli (to fill in for Dravid). But he has a long way to go.
If anyone should have a role model, it has to be this guy. As a captain he was a bit of an introvert. He was quiet and did not show much emotion. It was the wall that was always there for the Indian team to lean on.
Nari Contractor, former India captain:
Like Vijay Merchant, Vijay Hazare and Sunil (Gavaskar) have gone down in history, like Sachin (Tendulkar) will go down in history (when he calls it a day), so too will Rahul go down as among the very best India has produced.
Rahul has been next only to Sachin in everything (in the number of runs scored in Tests and number of centuries). He has made runs when they mattered most for the team. What more would you have expected from him?
What many fail to mention (about Dravid) is the number of catches he has taken (mostly in the slip cordon). He has
been one of the most outstanding cricketers from India in all respects. His contribution to Indian cricket has been huge and can never be forgotten.
Bapu Nadkarni, former India cricketer:
He was a totally selfless cricketer. He has been very helpful and never said no to anyone and always gave his best.
Anshuman Gaekwad, former India cricketer and India coach :
It's a bold decision. A tough decision for anyone to take. He probably doesn't feel he has no cricket left. He is making way for the youngsters which is amazing. It's sort of an example for many others.
I know him closely. When I was the coach, he was recognised as the Test cricketer. I was there as selector when Dravid made debut alongside Ganguly. That was a brilliant beginning. I knew he had the mettle in him. I was the one to get him to one-dayers. I somehow convinced the other selectors that he will be good in the one-dayers as well.
He was very disciplined and focused. I never told him he needs to work hard on batting or physical fitness. He was a
self-made cricketer. He was very confident. He knew exactly what he needs to be doing even in adverse condition. He is a
role model for any youngster. Leaving aside Sachin Tendulkar, if you want to emulate, it has to be Rahul Dravid.
Ashish Nehra, fast bowler for India :
When Rahul or Laxman were in the slips as a bowler you were doubly confident that the catches will be taken. Dravid
alongwith Jacques Kallis and Mark Waugh are the finest slip catchers in world cricket.
Standing at first slip, when Harbhajan Singh or Anil Kumble is bowling on Indian pitches you need a lot of guts to stand in the first slip.
Paras Mhambrey, former India cricketer:
He was always confident, very hard working. He is an ideal role model for the younger generation.
Sixteen years of career is a fabulous one. I feel he was fit and good enough to prolong his career but it's an individual decision. He will be missed.
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