Mumbai: As the hype surrounding Sachin Tendulkar's retirement reaches a crescendo, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said on Wednesday that the senior batsman should simply "enjoy his last Test match to the fullest" but there would be "no guarantees" of a fairytale hundred.
As India get set to take on the West Indies in the second and final Test, Dhoni found himself questioned relentlessly on just one man -- Tendulkar, who would be retiring at the end of it.
"I would like him (Tendulkar) to enjoy his last Test match. As much as you want him to score a hundred, double hundred or triple hundred, you can't guarantee performance," Dhoni said at the pre-match press conference.
"Since this is his last Test match, I would like him to enjoy it to the fullest and may be get a few wickets for us. It will be fun as one expects some turn and bounce from the wicket," Dhoni said.
Dhoni again stressed that the focus of the team was on the match as there was no point talking about possible distractions.
"It will be one of the greatest matches in cricketing history as it is Sachin's last game, we need to keep it as normal as possible. There are plenty of things going around. We have done our best to keep focus at the right place. For us, enjoying the moment is the key," the skipper said.
The most appealing aspect of Tendulkar's 24-year-journey, according to Dhoni, is how he handled success.
"With due respect to the greats of the earlier generations, they didn't have to face the kind of pressure that Tendulkar did. It was not only about his success but how he handled it in all these years.
"I have seen a lot of foreign players who can handle on-field success but when it came to handling the off-field pressure, they buckle down. That's what makes Tendulkar special."
Dhoni also said that there has been no visible change in the maestro's body language as he approaches the end of his career.
"If you ask me about his body language, I have not seen any change. As far as doing anything special is concerned, we would like to keep things simple. As it is, everyone is trying to do something special. We do have a few things on our mind. But you guys need to wait and concentrate on the match," the skipper said.
Talk about whether the transition phase is complete and the next generation is ready to survive the rigours on foreign soil, Dhoni gave a pointed reply.
"Taiyari toh main yehaan pe India mein khelke bata nahin sakta. Woh to tab pata chalega jab yeh log bahaar khelne jayenge. (I can't talk about how prepared they are playing in India. It will only be proved once they play abroad)."
"You can't have a replacement for Sachin Tendulkar or a Rahul Dravid. But you have to accept these youngsters at face value. They will have their own characteristics. Virat Kohli should play as Virat Kohli. Cheteshwar Pujara, irrespective of how he bats, would bring a different dimension to the team," Dhoni explained.
Dhoni adds that it was a privilege to share the field and dressing room with Tendulkar and adds that he has been blessed.
"I played 8-10 years with him. He guided the youngsters and showed us how to perform under pressure. The most emotional moment with him was winning the World Cup. The boys found it difficult to control their emotions. I have spent quite a number of Diwalis with him on various tours. We burst crackers together," Dhoni recollected.
On the Wankhede strip, Dhoni's assessment was "it's still a little damp. One will only get a feel before the match tomorrow."
Dhoni is also not keen with the idea of releasing Ajinkya Rahane and Ishant Sharma for the Ranji Trophy 'derby' between Delhi and Mumbai being played at the Bandra Kurla Complex ground (BKC).
"If we release one player, then other state associations will say that why not release my player and ideally you don't want to get into that situation. Also, we need a good fielder if someone goes out."