Mumbai, April 4: He has played under six captains in a career spanning 21 years but senior batsman Sachin Tendulkar today rated current India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the best for his sharp mind and calm demeanour.
Tendulkar has played six World Cups in his career but it was under Dhoni that the iconic batsman realised his dream of becoming a part of a winning team after they beat Sri Lanka in the finals at the Wankhede stadium on Saturday.
"He (Dhoni) is the best captain I have played under. He is very sharp and always alert. He reads the situation well and is open to sharing ideas. He always has discussions with bowlers, batsmen and senior players separately," said Tendulkar.
"One more good thing is he is always calm and never shows his frustration. These are some of the human qualities which have made him such a good captain. He is a fantastic captain," he added.
Asked about outgoing India coach Gary Kirsten, Tendulkar said he wants the South African to continue.
"Personally I want Gary to continue but I understand he has got commitments and he must have thought about this before the tournament. I respect his decision," he said.
"It has been a pleasure to work with him, he worked as hard as the players, he is like a bowling machine, bowling 200-300 balls to the batsmen. It has always been a fabulous experience to rub shoulder with him, we will miss him," he added.
Tendulkar feels the team peaked at the right time at the knockout stage after playing some close matches in the league stages of the tournament. "In the knockout stage we peaked at the right time, it was most important, we knew either the batting was clicking or bowling or fielding but everything was not clicking together, but in the last three games. Everybody contributed, right from seniors to the juniors in the team. Results no one can guarantee but efforts can be," he said.
Tendulkar said winning the World Cup was the biggest day of his life. "My biggest day in life was April 2, 2011. We had to pinch one another that it was actually happening in our life. I thank God for such a day, it was by his grace."
Asked how did the team deal with pressure, Tendulkar said they just tried to give their individual best.
"Pressure and expectation are always there, we were thinking that as individuals we should perform our best. If bowler fails, others will take wickets we were not thinking like that, we wanted to do our individual best and perform as a team."
"If a batsman failed, the aim was that the other batsmen should cover up for him. Pressure was of my own expectations. I won't say it was pressure but preparation," Tendulkar said.
Asked about the finals, Tendulkar said, "We planned a lot of things ahead of the final, we discussed a lot of things, but nobody was thinking about lifting the trophy. Obviously they were at the back of our minds but we wanted to go through the process and finish the game.
"We wanted to restrict them at the minimal total and chase the total. We were focusing on the process," he said.
Asked about the last lap on the shoulders of his teammates after winning the World Cup title, Tendulkar said it was a pleasant surprise and thanked his colleagues for the gesture.
"I became extremely emotional and those were happy tears. It has never happened in my life. It was truly an amazing experience to do the lap. I was not expecting that and I was taken by pleasant surprise. I want to thank all my teammates for that gesture. What a way to end the World Cup. It was an overwhelming experience," he said.
To a question as how did the team prepared for the World Cup, Tendulkar said the real preparation started after the South Africa series and the Bangalore camp helped the team to gel well.
"Preparation started some time ago but the real preparation was after the South Africa series when we spent 50-55 days together in the Bangalore camp, that really helped us," he said.
"We had various meeting, sharing experience, thinking what we should be doing and what to avoid, it was a package which was a successful one, it helped us to bond and understand each other better."
Tendulkar also walked down his memory lane and recalled the various moments of his life, one of which was walking into the dressing room in 1987.
"I remember India playing in England and the various moments, winning the World Cup was the ultimate one, but there were other moments also which I will never forget.
"My brothers are a big fan of Sandeep Patil. I was just 10 years old and I was just jumping and enjoying the moment, the bigger memory I have was walking into the dressing room, Sunil Gavaskar introduced me to the various players and it was an amazing experience," he said.