Shastri backs Tendulkar for Test captaincy

Published: Monday, October 29, 2007, 3:35 [IST]
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Dubai: Former Test captain Ravi Shastri has backed batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar for the captaincy of Indian cricket team, ahead of Mahendra Dhoni, in the longer version of the game as he felt it will be unfair to burden the wicketkeeper with so many responsiblities.

The former Indian all-rounder believes that Tendulkar is the right man to lead the country as he 'commands tremendous respect.' ''Tendulkar is the right choice. He is a certainty in the side and he commands tremendous respect from all teammates,'' Shastri told the Gulf News.

Tendulkar had lead the side on two previous occasions, during which he captained the side in 25 Tests, winning four, losing nine and drawing 12 matches. He relinquished the captaincy in 2000 after losing the Test series to South Africa 2-0.

Batting for Tendulkar, the living legend Shastri said, ''He may not be a natural leader but, unlike when he previously led the country, he now has many experienced players around him.'' Shastri was reacting to reports that Tendulkar is set to replace Rahul Dravid as captain.

Shastri also felt it would be unfair to entrust Twenty20 and ODI captain M S Dhoni with the Test role.

''To be a wicketkeeper in a Test match, concentrating every ball over a period of five days is not easy,'' he said. ''If he is given the responsibility of captaining the team as well, it will be a heavy burden on him.''

Shastri was temporarily appointed India's coach after the team's disastrous performance in the Carribbean World Cup. Under him the team became a winning unit during the Bangladesh tour.

When quizzed how he brought about the transformation, Shastri said, ''The enjoyment factor was missing from the Indian team. I stressed the need to enjoy collectively in order to start winning.''

Coach with good man-management skills: India does need a coach but it will not be decided by the colour of the skin or the country which he belongs to when choosing the right man for coaching the high profile Indian cricket team, believes Shastri.

''India does need a coach. It is not a question of whether he has to be an Indian or a foreigner,'' Shastri said when asked whether the Indian team needs a foreign coach.

''What we need is the right man for the job, someone who has excellent man management skills and is in tune with the modern trends of the game.''

Preserve seniors: The former India captain urged the Indian selectors to follow a policy of rotation for the senior players and the need to preserved them.

''One of them should be rested after six games on the trot if we need to preserve them for another two years as Test players,'' he said.

''The fact that Dravid has been dropped for two one-dayers does not mean the end of his one-day career. We would need his experience for the Australian tour. For the amount of cricket that is being played, we will need about 20 to 25 players who are fit all the time.''

''They need to be given exposure and the team building for the 2011 World Cup should start right away,'' the former Indian coach said.

NCA role: Talking about his role as the chairman of the National Cricket Academy (NCA), Shastri said, ''I am there to ensure that the academy is run in a professional manner and my role is to oversee its function.''

''Dav Whatmore as the Director of Operations will put the structure in place. It will act as a good finishing school for the elite, especially the Under-19, Under-25, Indian A team players.''

''Whatmore, with his experience, will be invaluable for the academy,'' he added.


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