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Friday, July 30, 1999 Published at 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK

Sport: Cricket

Tendulkar 'pressurised' into taking captaincy

Sachin Tendulkar has resumed the position he occupied for 17 months

India's new captain Sachin Tendulkar has revealed he did not want the job and had to be pressed by the selectors into accepting it.

The 26-year-old, who has led the Test team in the past, was brought back as successor to the sacked Mohammad Azharuddin earlier this week.

But Tendulkar - arguably the world's finest batsmen - said the news of his re-appointment as skipper came as a major surprise.

Sachin Tendulkar: "I was, very frankly, not prepared"
He was expecting India's vice-captain Ajay Jadeja to assume the position.

Despite his initial reluctance, Tendulkar has now been persuaded to take the job.

Batting a priority

"I was not mentally prepared for taking the captaincy, because it is the practice for the vice-captain to be named the next captain," he said.

[ image: Tendulkar is rated as one of the most gifted batsmen in world cricket]
Tendulkar is rated as one of the most gifted batsmen in world cricket
"As it is I was pressurised a lot. I was concentrating on how to win matches for India and how to better myself because I did not get many runs in the World Cup."

When he received the call from the selectors, Tendulkar said he was not ready to return to the captaincy.

His previous occupation of the position - before Azharuddin's stint in charge - had been disappointing and had affected his form with the bat.

But after accepting the challenge he said he was determined to justify the faith shown in him.

National pride

"I am definitely proud to lead my country," he said. "It is a great honour.

"Now I have to mentally start preparing myself for the job. I hope things will all fall into the right place.

[ image: Mohammad Azharuddin paid the price for India's World Cup failure]
Mohammad Azharuddin paid the price for India's World Cup failure
"Performing better as a batsman is up to me, but performing better as a captain is up to the other 10 players also."

In his first term as captain from August 1996 to January 1998, India won three Tests, lost four and drew 10. He also won 17 one-dayers and lost 31.

Tendulkar will lead India in three limited-overs tournaments in Sri Lanka, Singapore and Kenya in August and September.

The captain for the rest of the season, which includes home series against New Zealand and South Africa and a tour of Australia, will then be named after the selection committee meets in September.

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