India news October 12, 2013

'Tendulkar was at the top for 23 years' - Dhoni

ESPNcricinfo staff

India captain MS Dhoni knew Sachin Tendulkar's retirement "was coming" and has lauded the batsman for delivering in the face of huge expectations for more than two decades. Tendulkar, 40, will play his farewell series against West Indies at home next month, with his last and 200th Test likely to be staged in his hometown Mumbai.

"I knew it (retirement) was coming," Dhoni said in Pune, ahead of the first ODI against Australia. "I am quite happy for him, for the kind of illustrious career he has had, for the time he was at the top throughout his career. For 23 years or so he was always at the top.

"When you are the top batsman for your side for a considerable period of time, everyone scrutinises your performance when you score or don't score runs. He had to carry the expectations of so many Indians. At times the Indian fans set very high level of expectations. To bear with all of that and to come up with the performances that he came up with is fantastic."

Stadium attendances for Test matches in India aren't exactly healthy and Dhoni said in the unlikely case there weren't full houses for Tendulkar's last series, one could forget filling grounds for a long time to come. "I think at the moment we would rather enjoy the two Test matches to the fullest. It will give me an opportunity to see a house-full Test match. I have seen big crowds coming in, but it's one chance I will see a house-full crowd hopefully in both the venues. If I am not able to then in the next 25-30 years I don't think I will see a house-full Test match."