New Delhi, Oct 9: Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, the two most celebrated peers of Sourav Ganguly, on Wednesday paid tributes to the retiring member of the 'fab four', saying the Bengal stalwart had been a fount of inspiration for his teammates during his 16-year-long glorious international career.
"He just had a way with people and inspired others with his performances," Tendulkar told a cricket website.
"He's had a brilliant career and I for one have thoroughly enjoyed playing with him. There have been some memorable moments that he has given to the game and also the immense joy he has given to the team," said Tendulkar, who had tipped Ganguly as captain when he stepped down from the hot seat in 2000.
Dravid said Ganguly has achieved everything that any cricketer could possibly want in his career.
"What more could he have asked for? He's seen it all. Played some fascinating knocks in One-dayers; batted well in Tests at home and away; won Tests abroad and led India to a World Cup final," Dravid said.
"It's been special to have been part of a middle-order alongside him. I hope I learnt something from him and added something to his cricket," he added.
Both, however, admitted they were taken by surprise when Ganguly informed of his decision to retire after the series against Australia.
"It came as a surprise as he told us in the dressing room that he was quitting. It was towards the end of practice and I was surprised. I could not even talk to him since he had to rush to the press conference," revealed Tendulkar.
Ganguly has had great moments in his career but Dravid and Tendulkar are unanimous in their pick of the finest knock from the left-hander.
"It would have to be the 100 at Lord's without doubt. He was returning after 5-6 years to international cricket and to make a hundred at the Lord's was just terrific," said Tendulkar.
Dravid agrees the Lord's century was just too special. "Being there with him at the other end and watch him score that hundred was surreal," he admits.
Tendulkar and Dravid also had their takes on the debate on the impact on the team's campaign against Australia by Ganguly's retirement decision.
"Look at the brighter side. The moments will be cherished forever. This is not the time for judgment. This is the time to respect an individual's judgment," Tendulkar would say.
For Dravid, though, the decision might actually help the team against Australia.
"It will allow him to bat with freedom and actually express himself."
Asked Dravid about one thing that he would like to change in Ganguly and "The Wall" would offer his trademark straight bat. "He wouldn't be Ganguly if I'd change anything."