Sachin, Dhoni and team strategy!

New Delhi: Mahendra Singh Dhoni still feels shy to speak to his idol Sachin Tendulkar off the field, but says his honest opinions on a cricket field about team strategy, including occasional difference of opinion with The Master, might have handed him the India captaincy in 2007.

Dhoni said he used to have on-field discussions with Tendulkar on team strategy and would not mind disagreeing with his senior colleague even before he was made captain.

"Tendulkar is my sporting hero and because of the aura he carries, I still have difficulties speaking up to him outside a cricket field. But on the field, I always give my honest inputs about team strategy," Dhoni said.

"Tendulkar and I used to discuss team strategy on the field. If I am convinced I would even disagree with him and it happened quiet often. I think my honesty has paid dividends when he recommended me for captaincy. He might be thinking that I have learnt in quick time on different aspects of the game and team strategy," he said.

"Even if I was not made the captain, it was a huge thing that Tendulkar had recommended my name for captaincy," the Indian captain said at the release of a book titled Tendulkar: the Cricketer of the Century, here, on Wednesday.

Dhoni revealed that when he met Tendulkar for the first time more than 10 years ago, he could not speak to him but ended up serving the veteran batsman with drinks on the field. "I think that was in a Duleep Trophy match in Pune in 2000-01 or the 2001-02 season. I was in the East Zone squad and was carrying drinks. Tendulkar made 199 in that match and was batting when I went into the field to serve drinks to my teammates at the (drinks) break. Suddenly, he asked me 'can I also have a drink?'"

"That was my first meeting with Tendulkar, my idol. I did not speak any word to him and ended serving a drink to him," Dhoni said during a light-hearted conversation with the audience as Tendulkar left soon after the book was released. (PTI)

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