India captain MS Dhoni said on Saturday he knew Sachin Tendukar's retirement was coming and said there would be a feeling of emptiness among fans after the master batsman hangs up his gloves. Dhoni, however, is happy that Tendulkar is going out on his own terms.
The 40-year-old Tendulkar announced on Thursday that he would retire after the two-Test home series against West Indies next month, which will also see him become the only player in cricket history to play 200 Test matches.
"I knew it (retirement) was coming, 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," Dhoni said at the mandatory pre-match press conference in Pune ahead of Sunday's first ODI against Australia.
Dhoni said despite carrying the expectations of a billion people, Tendulkar scored runs more often than not, and "to bear with all of that and to come up with the performances that he came up with is fantastic".
"I think there was plenty he had to deal with apart from cricket, cricket of course was his passion. He had to deal with so many things that go around it. If you see all of that I think he has had a fantastic career," said Dhoni.
Dhoni also said that he expects to see full houses for the two Test matches against West Indies, adding if that isn't the case, there wouldn't be a full house in India for Test matches in the coming years.
"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 houseful crowd hopefully in both the venues and if I am not able to then in the next 25-30 years I don't think I will see a houseful Test match," Dhoni said.
Dhoni, however, said that he was disappointed that Tendulkar would no longer be seen on the international stage after the home series against West Indies.
"At the same time at some corner of your heart there is a feeling that you won't see him playing for the international team or any form of cricket. That's the only thing I am disappointed about."
Dhoni admitted that Tendulkar's retirement spells the end of an era and added that he had learnt many things from the batting maestro, including targeting a bowler in ODIs.
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