Indian cricket March 21, 2008

Tendulkar recommended Dhoni for captaincy - Pawar

Cricinfo staff


Sharad Pawar: "He [Tendulkar] said 'give Dhoni the opportunity. He has excellent relations with the team-mates'" © AFP
 

Sharad Pawar, the BCCI president, has revealed that Sachin Tendulkar had recommended Mahendra Singh Dhoni for the captaincy and suggested that youngsters should be included in the World Cup-winning Twenty20 squad instead of "players of his generation".

Pawar also told PTI in an interview that Rahul Dravid had dropped hints during the England series last year that he did not wish to remain as India captain, a decision that he finally announced after the series.

"Rahul had told me he could not concentrate on his game and requested me to find someone else. Some of the selectors wanted Sachin to lead and I conveyed it to him," Pawar said. "But Sachin said, 'please don't do this'. I asked then who should lead the side and he said 'give it to someone like Dhoni'. He said 'give Dhoni the opportunity. He has excellent relations with the team-mates'. I told him I would not interfere but would definitely convey it to the selectors."

Pawar said that it was on Tendulkar's advice that youngsters were given an opportunity in the Twenty20 squad, which went on to win the World Cup in South Africa last September.

"I was in England when we were playing them. Sachin met me and suggested 'I know you don't interfere with the team selection but you please tell the selectors not to include players of my generation in the Twenty20 squad'. He said 'my generation is not fit for Twenty20, so give opportunity to the youngsters'," Pawar said.

"Now who would come and say 'don't induct us', when that means losing a few lakh rupees? I think we are fortunate to have players like Rahul [Dravid], Sourav [Ganguly] and Anil [Kumble]. Their commitment is unquestionable," Pawar said.

Pawar also praised the leadership skills of Kumble, during the racism row involving Harbhajan Singh in Australia, and Dhoni, during the Twenty20 World Cup and the CB Series.

"Dhoni as a captain has done extremely good. He can motivate and has a good equation with other players. He is also cool [under pressure]," Pawar said.

Kumble, Pawar, said, displayed great maturity during the controversial Test series in Australia. "I would say Anil Kumble has been remarkable as captain. He is a good motivator and his behaviour was impeccable both on and off the field. In true sense of the term, he was an ambassador of the country and we are proud of the way he handled the entire issue," Pawar said.