New Delhi: He used to stand in first slip and observe Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s match-reading skills. It convinced Sachin Tendulkar that Dhoni was ready for India captaincy. Sachin Tendulkar told this to BCCI officials when he was asked for his suggestion back in 2007. Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid had decided to give juniors a chance in the inaugural ICC World T20 that year. The BCCI had asked the maestro about who would be his choice for captaincy.
Tendulkar’s thought process
“I wouldn’t get into details how it happened. But yes I did say when I was asked (by the senior BCCI people) as to what do I think,” Tendulkar said while talking about Dhoni.
“I had mentioned that I won’t be going to South Africa. I was carrying a few injuries. But back then, I used to stand in the slip cordon and I used to interact with MS (Dhoni). I would try and understand what he was thinking, the field setting… then would discuss all those aspects. I observed his match reading skills and I came to a conclusion that he had a good cricketing brain. So I suggested to the board officials that MS should be the next one to take charge,” the iconic Tendulkar added.
‘Ability to convince anyone’
Tendulkar said he was impressed by Dhoni’s ability to convince anyone of his decisions. “Whatever I was thinking and whatever he thought, we were more or less on the same page. If I have to convince you about something, I have to be on your page. That is exactly what happened with MS. We both were thinking alike and that’s why I suggested he should be the skipper,” informed Tendulkar.
Dhoni’s promotion to Test captaincy in 2008 happened at a crucial. The Indian dressing room still had Tendulkar himself, Dravid, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan as senior cricketers.
Handling of senior players
Tendulkar was asked how he rated Dhoni’s handling of senior players. “I can only speak for myself. Moreover I didn’t have any aspirations to become captain. This much I can tell you the only thing that I wanted was to go out and win every match for the team. For that whoever the captain was, I was going to give 100 per cent all the time. I also wanted to do the right things,” Tendulkar stated.
For Tendulkar, it was his duty to give multiple suggestions to Dhoni. Then he let him enjoy the freedom of taking the final call.
“If each person contributes in different capacities, then there is less of a load on captain. That’s what good teams do. The moot idea is to help each other,” Tendulkar pointed.
Confidence in players
The world’s highest run-scorer in Tests and ODIs said that one of Dhoni’s biggest contribution was to give confidence to players he believed in. Rohit Sharma’s emergence as a world-class white-ball opener and Ravindra Jadeja’s elevation as the team’s premier all format all-rounder are just a case in point.
“I think for any player to have the captain’s faith in your abilities makes a huge difference. It’s not just this generation but all generations, players have needed support. It surely helps. MS having confidence in a number of players in the team has surely helped us without any doubt,” stated Tendulkar.