Hockey India (HI) Friday congratulated just-retired Sardar Singh on his stellar international career, saying he was a “true ambassador of the game” as players, current and former, paid their tributes.

Sardar called time on his 12-year career on Wednesday, the same day he was left out of the national camp probables for the Asian Champions Trophy and the World Cup.

“In the best and worst of times, Sardar Singh has exemplified steely determination. His qualities and dedication as a player makes him a true ambassador of the game,” HI president Rajinder Singh said in a statement.

“He has inspired an entire generation of youngsters with his performances and as captain. He led the team to one of the biggest victories at the 2014 Asian Games. He has been part of Indian hockey’s resurgence and elevation in world ranking,” he said.

“His contribution to the sport will be cherished and Hockey India would like to congratulate him for his achievements and wish him the very best for his future endeavours.”

Sardar formally announced his retirement Thursday at a press conference in Chandigarh.

Considered a legend, Sardar has been part of India’s important feats in the past decade, having won silver medal at the 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games, two Asia Cup Gold medals (in 2007 and 2017) and a silver (2013), gold at the 2014 Asian Games, bronze at the World League Final in Raipur 2015 and silver medal at the 2011 Champions Challenge.

This year, he was part of the Indian team that won a silver medal at the FIH Champions Trophy in Breda and a bronze at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta.

Current captain PR Sreejesh led the tributes for the former captain on Twitter.