Indian batting great Sunil Gavaskar paid rich tributes to Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the latter announced his retirement from international cricket on Saturday.

In an interview with India Today, Gavaskar stated that for him, Dhoni is the greatest captain India has ever had in white-ball cricket.

Live updates: Dhoni’s international retirement confirmed; Kohli and Tendulkar lead tributes

The 71-year-old believes that not only did Dhoni have a huge impact as a player, but his leadership qualities also enriched Indian cricket.

“What he has achieved for India certainly makes him a legend. His performance for the Indian team, the way he captained, his leadership qualities, the way he has groomed youngsters,” said Gavaskar.

You’ll always be our captain: Twitter reacts to MS Dhoni retiring from international cricket

“And he didn’t just groom batsman like Virat Kohli, he even mentored many spinners. His contribution has been beyond the game, beyond the field. When you talk about leaders in all walks of life, his name will always be right up there.

“If you look at India’s captaincy in One-Day Internationals, he and Kapil Dev are undoubtedly at the top. Because they won World Cups, of course. And if you talk about white-ball cricket as a whole, Dhoni has the edge over Kapil because he won the T20 World Cup and Champions Trophy as well.”

Suresh Raina joins MS Dhoni in announcing retirement from international cricket: Reports

Talking about the timing of Dhoni’s announcement to retire, Gavaskar said that the postponement of the T20 World Cup to next year may have played a crucial role in the decision.

“I think he might have been waiting to see how he performed in the Indian Premier League, had it happened as started scheduled in March. And he even may have been waiting to see if the T20 World Cup happened. But once it was pushed to next year, he must have made up his mind to retire. He would have fancied his chances of doing well in the IPL and then going out on a high with the World Cup. But it wasn’t to be,” said Gavaskar.