Chennai, Apr 6: Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Wednesday advocated the idea of conferring ''Bharat Ratna'' to batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar, saying no cricketer deserves it more than him.
"200 percent, because he is an ideal candidate, he has served the country for 21 years and few more years to come. As a cricketer, if he doesn''t get it then I don''t think there is anyone who will get the Bharat Ratna ever," said Dhoni.
"I think he has done really great things for the country, taking cricket to the next level, he is known in places where people do not know about cricket, so I think it''s a very big achievement taking the country forward," he added.
Tendulkar, who has been granted the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna Award, Padma Shri and Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India, is the leading run-scorer and century maker in Test and one-day international cricket. He is the only player to score a double century in the history of ODI cricket.
Tendulkar is the first and the only player in Test Cricket history to score fifty centuries, and the first to score fifty centuries in all international cricket combined; he now has 99 centuries in international cricket.
Dhoni also thanked Sachin for praising his captaincy ability saying that it was his privilege to play with the star batsman.
"Well it''s a pleasure, if it''s from Sachin''s side, just like him I am also serving the nation. I have tried to be honest throughout my career when I started playing cricket till now. So, whatever responsibility is given on my shoulders, I have tried to fulfill it to the fullest extent," said Dhoni.
"It''s just my pleasure that Sachin said he enjoyed playing with me, so that''s what I have to say, it''s a real pleasure," he added.
Sachin had earlier praised Dhoni for his sharp mind and calm demeanor.
The Indian skipper further said that the team would miss Gary Kirsten as the coach, as the players and Kirsten shared a special bonding with each other.
"But one thing for sure, whoever wants to come in or whoever comes in, those are big shoes to fill what Gary has done to Indian cricket. I think the benchmark is set really high and when I say really high, it''s really high. We will miss him for sure, but I can assure you Gary will miss us more," said Dhoni.
"Right now, he has taken a break for his family, but someday when he decides to come back as coach, if by luck he is not with the Indian cricket team, some other team, I think he will miss the Indian cricket team even more. I think the bond was there between the team and Gary, so we will definitely miss him," he added.
Answering a query whether a hectic game season affected the consistency of the players Dhoni said that it did take a toll on physical as well as mental stability.
"It''s quite a hectic schedule ahead of us and as far as affecting the performance is concerned, yeah, it does affect the performance of the players. The physical aspect you can still battle because of the amount of cricket, mentally at times you will find that you are quite reined and emotionally also you are quite reined," said Dhoni.
"I think it may affect very good chances, it may affect, but its not that it will affect all the players," he added.