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Pakistan players hail Ganguly

October 08, 2008 10:24 IST

Pakistan cricketers heaped rare praised on former India captain Sourav Ganguly [Images] on Wednesday, after the batsman announced he would retire following the Test series against Australia [Images].

India's most successful Test captain stumped the cricket-crazy nation by announcing on Tuesday he would retire at the conclusion of the four-test home series.

Ganguly, who led India to their first test series win in Pakistan in 2004, was an "icon" of Indian cricket, said Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar [Images].

"It is a sad day for Indian cricket that he has decided to retire. But he has taken a brave decision and he will go as one of the 'icons' of Indian cricket," Akhtar said.

Senior batsman Mohammad Yousuf [Images] credited Ganguly with changing the mentality and attitude of Pakistan's fierce rivals.

"He took over the captaincy at a very difficult time when they had a leadership void in their cricket. And he was one of most inspirational captains," Yousuf said.

"He has taken the right decision because only he knows the situation he was facing. But his contribution to Indian cricket is immense."

Ganguly has played 109 Tests, following a memorable century on debut at Lord's in 1996, and scored 6,888 runs with 15 hundreds. He has played 311 one-day internationals, scoring 11,363 runs with 22 hundreds.

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