It was on Sachin Tendulkar’s insistence that MS Dhoni was awarded the captaincy of the Indian cricket team in 2007, Sharad Pawar said.
The union agriculture minister, who was the BCCI president at that time, revealed on his blog today how on Rahul Dravid’s insistence to give up captaincy, he took Sachin Tendulkar’s advice on whom to appoint as India’s next captain. He wrote:
“Sachin loves to lend a helping hand to fellow players, especially the juniors, and believes in team spirit. Humility is his middle name. He gave up captaincy to concentrate on his game.
“Now, a cute story which will delight the countless fans of Sachin Tendulkar and M S Dhoni as well. It so happened that a few years ago the Indian cricket team was playing in England. As BCCI chief I too was in London.
“One day Rahul Dravid came to me with a request that took me by surprise. Dravid said he wanted to give up captaincy as it affected his game. I flatly said no. The Twenty20 series was to begin soon and the World Cup match was barely a year away.
“How could Dravid think of giving up captaincy at such a critical juncture? Who would be his successor? Dravid persisted. He suggested Sachin’s name as the next captain. I talked to Sachin on the issue. He didn’t seem eager to step into Dravid’s shoes. Instead, he suggested Dhoni’s name. This came as a twist in the tale.
“‘Dhoni is an excellent wicket-keeper. But, will he make a good captain?’ I asked Sachin. ‘You try him out. He will make a great captain. I say this with a sense of responsibility’, Sachin replied,” said Pawar in his recollection.
“Accordingly, the BCCI’s selection committee chose Dhoni as the team captain. And he did India proud. We won the Twenty20 World Cup and, later, the 2011 World Cup in Mumbai as well. Handsome praise was heaped on the new captain which he rightly deserved. This happened because of Sachin’s far-sightedness.”
“Sachin is all set to retire. However, he can’t keep himself away from cricket for too long. I am sure grooming young players will be a part of his post-retirement plans. Best wishes to the Master Blaster.”