Two days after India were crowned World Champions, Sachin Tendulkar has rated MS Dhoni as the best captain he has played under during his 22-year cricket career.
"He [Dhoni] is the best captain I have played under," Tendulkar said in Mumbai. "He is very sharp and always alert. He reads the situation well and is open to sharing ideas. He always has discussions with bowlers, batsmen and senior players separately."
Tendulkar, who has played under six captains, including Mohammad Azharuddin, Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble, praised Dhoni's ability to maintain his composure whatever the match situation. "He is always calm and never shows his frustration. These are some of the human qualities which have made him such a good captain. He is a fantastic captain."
India beat Sri Lanka by six wickets in the final in Mumbai after coming through the knockout stages with hard-fought wins over Australia and Pakistan and a patchy performance in the group matches. Tendulkar said that India had "peaked" when it mattered the most. "In the knockout stage we peaked at the right time; it was most important. We knew either the batting was clicking, or bowling, or fielding but everything was not clicking together, but [apart from] in the last three games. Everybody contributed, right from seniors to the juniors in the team. No one can guarantee results but efforts can be [guaranteed]."
After India's victory in the final, Dhoni had said the team had felt the pressure of expectations right through the tournament. Tendulkar said the key to handling that pressure lay in focussing on individual performances. "Pressure and expectation are always there, we were thinking that as individuals we should perform our best. We were not thinking that if a bowler fails, others will take wickets like that; we wanted to do our individual best and perform as a team.
"The responsibility is on all the team members equally. Like me, it was the dream of all the team members to get this World Cup."
Tendulkar said that while lifting the trophy was on the players' minds, the focus was on restricting Sri Lanka to a gettable target and "go through the process and finish the game". He said the pre-World Cup preparatory camp the team had in Bangalore also played a key role in the team's preparation.
Tendulkar paid tribute to the efforts of outgoing coach Gary Kirsten, saying that while he would like Kirsten to continue, he respected his decision to leave, and that the team would "miss" him.