As the hype surrounding Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement reaches a crescendo, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Wednesday said the senior batsman should simply “enjoy his last Test match to the fullest” as there are “no guarantees” of a fairytale hundred that all his fans are hoping for.
As India get set to take on the West Indies in the second and final Test, Dhoni found himself questioned relentlessly on just one man — Tendulkar, who would be retiring at the end of it.
“I would like him (Tendulkar) to enjoy his last Test match. As much as you want him to score hundred, double hundred or triple hundred, you can’t guarantee performance,” Dhoni said in a very practical reply to one of the innumerable questions he answered about the retiring legend in the pre-match press conference on Wednesday.
But Dhoni certainly wants Tendulkar, the ‘Man with Golden Arm’ to get a few breakthroughs.
“Since this is his last Test match, I would like him to enjoy to the fullest and may be get a few wickets for us. That will be fun as one expects some turn and bounce from the wicket,” Dhoni said.
It was inevitable that all questions were directly or indirectly related to Tendulkar but Dhoni again stressed that “focus was on the match” as there was “no point talking about the distractions”.
“It will be one of the greatest matches in cricketing history but as it is his last game, we need to keep it as normal as possible. There are plenty of things going around. We have done our best to keep focus at the right place. For us, enjoying the moment is the key,” the skipper said.
The most appealing aspect of Tendulkar’s 24-year-journey, according to Dhoni, is how he handled success.
“With due respect to the greats of earlier generation, they didn’t have to face the kind of pressure Tendulkar faced. It was not only about his success but how he handled it in all these years.
“I have seen a lot of foreign players who can handle on-field success but when it came to handling the off-field pressure, they buckle down. That’s what makes Tendulkar special.”
Dhoni also said that there has been no visible change in the maestro’s body language and the team members also want to keep it as simple as possible.
“If you ask about the body language, I have not seen any change. As far as doing anything special is concerned, we would like to keep things simple. As it is, everyone is trying to do something special. We do have a few things on our mind. But you guys need to wait and concentrate on the match,” the skipper said in jest.
Talk about whether the transition phase is complete and the Gen-Next is ready to survive the rigours on foreign soil, Dhoni gave a pointed reply.
“Taiyari toh main yehaan pe India mein khelke bata nahin sakta. Woh to tab pata chalega jab yeh log bahaar khelne jayenge. (I can’t talk about how prepared they are playing in India. It will only be proved once they play abroad).”