The cricket fraternity paid rich tributes to Rahul Dravid, who on Friday retired from all forms of cricket, describing him as a “perfectionist” and next only to Sachin Tendulkar in greatness from his generation.
“There was and is only one Rahul Dravid,” said Tendulkar. “There can be no other. I will miss Rahul in the dressing room and out in the middle.”
Sunil Gavaskar said Dravid's decision has left a big hole in Indian cricket.
“It will be a big hole to fill. It was a decision in the pipeline for some time, because once a player gets 35-36, talks of leaving the game are at the back of his mind, so really didn't come as a surprise,” he said.
Describing Dravid as a ‘great motivator', off-spinner Harbhajan Singh said, “day before yesterday he called me to inform about his decision. I wished him all the best.”
India's legendary all-rounder Kapil Dev 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. He is the only cricketer after Bradman to do so well abroad,” said Kapil.
Former captain Ajit Wadekar said, “Rahul was like the Great Wall of China for the Indian team and it cannot be created again.”
Another former captain Nari Contractor said, “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.
Former all-rounder Bapu Nadkarni said he was a totally selfless cricketer. “He has been very helpful and never said no to anyone and always gave his best,” Nadkarni said.
Former India coach Aunshuman Gaekwad applauded Dravid's decision to step down and make way for the youngsters.
“It's a bold decision. He probably doesn't feel he has no cricket left. He is making way for the youngsters which is amazing,” said Gaekwad.
International cricketers also paid rich tribute on micro-blogging site, Twitter.
England batsman Kevin Pietersen termed Dravid as a ‘legend.' “Rahul Dravid-LEGEND!! Plain & simple..congrats on an incredible career!! India WILL miss #thewall..,” wrote Pietersen.
Former England skipper Michael Vaughan tweeted: “Rahul Dravid retires.. The worlds most respected cricketer over the last 20 yrs.. LEGEND..”
Heaping praise, West Indian cricketer Chris Gayle said “Congrats on a Fantastic, Superb International Career! The Great Legend Rahul Dravid !!The wall will be miss!!”
South Africa'sA.B. de Villiers said, “You will be missed. Fantastic person and Cricketer! India's #wall.”
Indian tennis ace Mahesh Bhupathi appreciated Dravid's discipline and hard work. “Congratulations Rahul Dravid. Champion on and off the field, showed us all that sky is the limit with hard work, patience and discipline...,” wrote Bhupathi.
“Dravid is obviously one of India's greatest batsmen — great in all conditions and one who scored runs everywhere,” said John Wright, former New Zealand skipper who coached India from 2000 to 2005. “From a personal perspective, Rahul is one of the best men I've ever worked with... he's not only a great cricketer, but a great man.”