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Tendulkar: I am enjoying captaincy

The maverick batsman, who had two rather forgettable stints as Team India captain, says he is enjoying skippering the Mumbai squad in the ongoing IPL extravaganza.

cricket Updated: May 23, 2008 20:53 IST

Team India captaincy may have been a crown of thorn for Sachin Tendulkar but the Indian Premier League has been a completely different experience and the champion batsman says he is thoroughly enjoying skippering the Mumbai squad in the ongoing Twenty20 extravaganza.

Tendulkar, who had two rather forgettable stints as Team India captain, said he was feeling good to be back at the helm.

"It has been good," Tendulkar said on Friday, on the eve of the Mumbai side's crucial IPL encounter on Saturday at the Ferozeshah Kotla.

"I've enjoyed being out in the middle and it feels quite good as I'm leading after a long time," he said.

A groin injury kept him out of the first half of the IPL and former South Africa skipper Shaun Pollock stepped forward as the makeshift captain.

Finally back to the action, Tendulkar said the presence of two former international captains, Pollock and Sri Lankan Sanath Jayasuriya, have made his job easier.

"With Shaun and Sanath's help, it has become easy. In fact all the players are thinking about solution to the various problems we face on the field and chipping in with ideas," Tendulkar said.

He also felt that his return to the side has lent more balance to the top order.

"I think the experience factor was lacking in the top order and Shaun and Sanath had too much responsibility on their shoulders. Now that I'm back, the responsibility got shared among us," he explained.

The Mumbai captain looked determined to erase the memories of their last match defeat against Mohali and said he was not looking back.

"You still have a lot of cricket to be played. After the first four matches too, people had a lot of opinions about us but we tried to play well and the same effort would be there.

"We don't want to look back. Even when we were on the winning streak, we didn't think about past matches and the outlook would remain same," he said.

On Saturday's match, Tendulkar said the idea would be to remove Delhi's skipper Virender Sehwag and run-machine Gautam Gambhir cheaply.

"I have played a lot with both of them. They are quality players and quite dangerous too. Efforts would be to send them back quickly because they are the two key players, who have scored most of the runs for the side."

Asked if Saturday's match would see a renewal of his well-documented battle with former Australian spearhead Glenn McGrath, Tendulkar said, "I've always maintained that the match is played among 22 players and not just two individuals. What eventually matters is how 11 members of a particular side fare."

Tendulkar also said that Pollock was recovering fast from a stiff back.

"He is getting well and I think he would be fit for tomorrow's match," he said.

Asked if there was any difference in the pressure of playing for the country and an IPL franchisee, Tendulkar said his intensity never dips, irrespective of opposition and occasion.

"I always hold the bat thinking of scoring runs, whether I'm playing in the IPL, for India or against my son. I love the game and respect it and give my best whenever I play."

He said he never shies away from any challenge, rather confronts it.

"When you embrace challenge, it becomes fun. The more you try to run away from it, the more it would chase you."

On the IPL, Tendulkar said it was his gut feeling that the Twenty20 extravaganza would prove a hit.

"I always felt IPL would be a success. You have all the top players, it's a shorter version and fast-paced -- I knew people would enjoy it.

"But I still feel Test cricket is ultimate and people should enjoy that. I don't think ODI would be much affected by the IPL."

Asked if age could be a factor in this format, Tendulkar said, "I've said it time and again that it's not age but performance and form that eventually matter."