India news March 20, 2013

My honesty helped earn Tendulkar's captaincy recommendation - Dhoni

ESPNcricinfo staff

MS Dhoni believes his forthrightness helped him earn a captaincy recommendation from Sachin Tendulkar. He said he received Tendulkar's backing in the matter, which was a "huge thing".

"On the field, I always give my honest inputs about team strategy," Dhoni said at the launch of Sachin - The Cricketer of the Century, a book that celebrates his stellar innings. "Tendulkar and I used to discuss team strategy on the field. If I was convinced [about something], I would even disagree with him and it happened quite often.

"I think my honesty has paid dividends when he recommended me for captaincy. He might [have been] thinking that I had learnt in quick time [about] different aspects of the game and team strategy. Even if I was not made the captain, it was a huge thing that Tendulkar had recommended my name for captaincy."

Dhoni, who debuted for India in 2004, took over the limited-overs captaincy from Rahul Dravid after India's tour of England in 2007. He had a smashing start to his captaincy, leading India to victory in the World Twenty20 2007 in his first series in charge. Soon after, he lost his maiden ODI series as captain, at home to Australia, but followed up with victory in the tri-series in Australia that also included Sri Lanka. He took over the Test captaincy full-time from Anil Kumble in November 2008 in the Nagpur Test against Australia, and has now become India's most successful Test captain with 23 wins from 46 Tests.

Dhoni, who labelled Tendulkar his "sporting hero", also spoke about the first time he met him. "I think that was in a Duleep Trophy match in Pune in 2000-01 or 2001-02 season. I was in East Zone squad and was carrying drinks. Tendulkar made 199 in that match and he was batting when I went onto the field to serve drinks to my team-mates in the drinks break.

"Suddenly, he asked me, 'Can I have a drink also?' That was my first meeting with Tendulkar, my idol. I did not speak a word to him and ended up serving a drink to him."

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