"I think he is one of the greatest, without a doubt. One of game's terrific players and I wish him best for the future," said Gilchrist in his praise for the Sri Lankan, who just like him, gained respect from fans all around the world.

Sangakkara, who called time on his international career today with a heavy loss against India in the second Test in Colombo, was Sri Lanka's highest run-getter in the longest format with 12,400 runs and fifth highest overall.

Gilchrist, while speaking at a school here as Australia's new education ambassador to India, was also asked about Australia's 2-3 defeat in the Ashes and whether Steve Smith was the right man to take the team forward after the retirement of Michael Clarke.

"It is a new start, it is a fresh start. Michael Clarke has been a wonderful servant to Australian cricket but Steve Smith has shown he has got the capacity to take the team into the future. I think he will do a wonderful job," said the 43-year-old on the sidelines of the launch of BRIDGE, an initiative linking schools in India and Australia.

Gilchrist, who represented Australia in 96 Tests and 287 games, is as popular in India as he is back home. On his ambassadorial role, he said he was looking forward to contributing to education sector in both countries.

"My role is looking at the already strong foundation of cross cultural exchange and trying to further enhance the relationship including in the education sector. We are looking at university to university collaborative work, student and research mobility. Just trying to open up the whole relationships. Learning from this cross cultural relationship is going to broaden the horizon for both countries. Not only for the academic effect but the effect on education industry and economy.

"I have been coming to India for many years and with this new responsibility I will keep coming back here often," Gilchrist added.

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