Pune: He is disappointed that Sachin Tendulkar is just two Tests away from quitting international cricket but Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Saturday said he is happy as well to see the celebrated veteran go out on his own terms.
Tendulkar, 40, is expected to play his 199th and landmark 200th Test match against the West Indies next month and the matches are scheduled for November 6-10 and 14-18.
He would then bid adieu to cricket as the holder of a plethora of world records, including the only batsman to score 100 international hundreds. "I knew it [retirement] was coming, I am quite happy for him, for the kind of illustrious career he has had, for the time he was at the top throughout his career. For 23 years or so he was always at the top," said Dhoni at the mandatory pre-match press conference here ahead of Sunday's first ODI against Australia.
"He had to carry the expectations of so many Indians. At times the Indian fans set very high level of expectations. To bear with all of that and to come up with the performances that he came up with is fantastic.
"I think at the moment we would rather enjoy the two Test matches to the fullest. It will give me an opportunity to see a house full Test match I have seen big crowds coming in. But it's one chance I will see a houseful crowd hopefully in both the venues and if I am not able to then in the next 25-30 years I don't think I will see a houseful Test match," Dhoni added.
Dhoni lauded the way Tendulkar, who made his Test debut at the age of 16 against Pakistan in 1989, shouldered the burden of expectations right through his glittering career. "...when you are top batsman for your side for a considerable period of time, everyone scrutinises your performance, when you score or not score runs," Dhoni said.
"I think there was plenty he had to deal with apart from cricket, cricket of course was his passion. He had to deal with so many things that go around it. If you see all of that I think he has had a fantastic career," said Dhoni.
While Dhoni was happy that Tendulkar would be retiring on his own terms, he felt that there would be a feeling of emptiness among cricket fans. "He had a few injuries too and from whatever interaction I have had the rehabilitation was far more painful than the injury. I am very happy he had such a fantastic career and also for the fact that he retired on his own terms.
"At the same time at some corner of your heart there is a feeling that you won't see him playing for the international team or any form of cricket. That's the only thing I am disappointed about."
Saying that Tendulkar's retirement spells the end of an era, Dhoni said he had learnt many things from the batting great and one of those was how to target a bowler in ODIs.
"Of course it will be an end of an era. We all know that when he started playing cricket in '89 I was 8 years old. To remember what happened in 83-84 it's difficult. But closer to 90s in the past we can relate to what happened
"To point out that this is the particular thing I learnt from him is very difficult. I think in the opportunities I got to bat with him I learnt to read the game," he said.
"Especially in the ODIs in the time I spent (with him) I learnt how to target a bowler, what to do and how to do at that point of time. I think that's something that has really helped me. There are plenty of other things I learnt from him but a press conference will be too short a time to explain all of that," he added.