NEW DELHI: India's batting great Sachin Tendulkar added to growing speculation that Rahul Dravid will announce his retirement on Friday by paying rich tributes to his team-mate.

"There was and is only one Rahul Dravid. There can be no other," Tendulkar told the NDTV news channel. "I will miss Rahul in the dressing room and out in the middle."

Dravid is scheduled to address a joint news conference with Indian cricket chief Narayanaswamy Srinivasan in Bangalore at 12:30 pm (0700 GMT), amid speculation the player is set to end his 16-year career.

Dravid, 39, is the number two run-getter in Test cricket behind Tendulkar with 13,288 runs from 164 matches at an average of 52.31 with 36 centuries and 63 fifties.

He is also one of only 10 batsmen to score more than 10,000 runs in one-day cricket. His tally stands at 10,889 runs from 344 matches at 39.16 with 12 centuries.

Dravid, popularly known as "The Wall" for his immaculate technique, had already quit limited-overs international cricket last year to concentrate on prolonging his Test career.

Tendulkar, who made his debut seven years before Dravid, said he shared some of the "best moments" with him both on and off the field.

"Our many century partnerships are testimony to the hours we spent together in the middle," said Tendulkar. "For someone with a record like that, no tribute can be enough."

The famous, but ageing batting stars Dravid, Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Venkatsai Laxman are all under pressure after India endured a Test crisis following the victory in the limited-overs World Cup last year.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men crashed to identical 4-0 Test defeats in England and Australia, and failed to win the one-day series.

Dravid was one of few players to emerge with any credit after the disastrous tour of England where he defied the years to crack three centuries in four Tests.

But he managed just 194 runs in eight innings in Australia, where he was bowled six times, indicating perhaps that his reflexes were slowing down.

Dravid is expected to continue playing in the lucrative Indian Premier League Twenty20 event where he will lead Rajasthan Royals this year after the retirement of Australian spin legend Shane Warne