Shastri bats for Sachin's captaincy

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Dubai, Oct 29 (UNI) Former Test captain Ravi Shastri has given the nod for batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar to take over the reins of Indian cricket team, ahead of M S 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 wicket keeper 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.'' UNI

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