My honesty helped me secure Sachin Tendulkar’s vote to make me captain, says Mahendra Singh Dhoni

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Dhoni’s honesty with Tendulkar secured his position as captain

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is no stranger to having every move of his closely watched and analysed by the media, but in a rare moment of being away from prying eyes, Dhoni revealed that his road to becoming captain of his country was all due to securing the vote of veteran batsman Sachin Tendulkar, which he managed to accomplish through complete honesty.

Dhoni recalls how he and Tendulkar used to disagree on numerous occasions, but believes that it was through his forthrightness that Tendulkar backed him to excel as leader of the national team.

“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 was convinced [about something], I would even disagree with him and it happened quite often.

“I think my honesty has paid dividends when he recommended me for captaincy. He might [have been] thinking that I had learnt in quick time [about] different aspects of the game and team strategy. Even if I was not made the captain, it was a huge thing that Tendulkar had recommended my name for captaincy.”

Dhoni replaced former India batsman Rahul Dravid as captain after the side’s tour of England in 2007 and immediately made a huge impact, leading the team to victory at the 2007 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20.

Dhoni also took over the Test captaincy from leg-spinner Anil Kumble during the fourth Test against Australia at Nagpur in 2008.

During the recent series against Australia, Dhoni surpassed Sourav Ganguly as India’s most successful captain with 23 wins from 46 Tests.

The Indian captain also took some time to reminisce about his first run-in with Tendulkar.

“I think that was in a Duleep Trophy match in Pune in 2000-01 or 2001-02 season,” Dhoni said. “I was in East Zone squad and was carrying drinks. Tendulkar made 199 in that match and he was batting when I went onto the field to serve drinks to my team-mates in the drinks break.

“Suddenly, he asked me, ‘Can I have a drink also?’ That was my first meeting with Tendulkar, my idol. I did not speak a word to him and ended up serving a drink to him.”

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