Indian batting superstar Sachin Tendulkar paid glowing tribute Friday to the never-say-die attitude of team-mate Rahul Dravid, who is retiring from one-day cricket.
Dravid, 38, will bow out of short format competition after the fifth and final one day international against England in Cardiff on Friday, having already amassed 10,820 runs in 343 games.
Nicknamed "The Wall" for his solid defence and unflappable temperament, Dravid is only the fifth batsman to have scored more than 10,000 runs in both Test and one-day cricket.
"A great thing about Rahul is that he has always loved to work hard, always trying to stay a step ahead of the game," Tendulkar told the Indian Express.
"When he started playing ODI cricket, he faced some initial difficulties, but he was never one to give up. He worked very hard on his flaws, and he made sure to fight it out."
Dravid made his one-day debut in 1996 against Sri Lanka, but struggled initially before establishing himself as one of the most prolific batsmen in the middle order.
He has so far made 12 hundreds and 82 half-centuries in one-day cricket, with a career-best 153 against New Zealand at Hyderabad in 1999.
"He has had a fabulous career as a one-day player and has contributed so much to Indian cricket. I have no doubt that he is and will continue to be a role model for all of us," said Tendulkar.
"He may not give you a quick start, but he will surely make his innings count in terms of time spent at the crease. You need such players in the team, and he was the best man for the job.
"It wasn't that he couldn't bat quickly, he just made sure that he batted according to the situation. He also had that ability to finish a game.
"He is the perfect team man. He has opened for the team, batted at number three, batted down the order, and batted wherever required. It truly has been one remarkable journey," Tendulkar said.
England one-day captain Alastair Cook also lauded Dravid ahead of the match in Cardiff, calling him "an all-time great."