Mussoorie:India's master batsman Sachin Tendulkar on Thursday said he respected government's decision to cancel the Pakistan tour following the Mumbai terror attacks as no cricket tour was bigger than the tragedy.
Asked about cancellation of India's Pakistan tour following the Mumbai terror attacks, Tendulkar who came here for a vacation with wife Anjali and two children, said on such occasions cricket should take a backseat.
"It is a decision by the government and we respect that decision. The attack on Mumbai was very unfortunate, so many people lost their lives in it. This tragedy is far bigger than any cricket tour or sports. Those who have lost their loved ones can never be compensated," Tendulkar said.
Tendulkar lavished praises on Mahendra Singh Dhoni's leadership skills whom he called a "good captain" but also had a good team at his disposal to bring about the desired result.
He also said that apart from Dhoni's captaincy, it was a great team effort which saw India finish the year on a high.
"Dhoni is obviously a good captain. But a good captain needs a good team. Obviously his captaincy is good but the team's performance, its collective effort, is essential for a captain. A team never wins by the performance of one or two players only. When the entire team performs, we get good results," Tendulkar said.
Early in his captaincy, Dhoni already enjoys some stellar success in all three formats of the game.
The star stumper-batsman led India to Twenty20 World Cup triumph, a ODI tri-series victory in Australia and is yet to lose a Test match as a captain. Dhoni has won four out of the five Tests he led India in, the last of which was against England in Mohali earlier this week which ended in a draw.
Tendulkar said both good leadership and some sterling performance by the team made it a memorable year for Indian cricket.
"Throughout the year, our players have performed. It has been a good team effort and good leadership," he said. Looking ahead, Tendulkar said the team would now strive to maintain the high standard it set this year.
"We had a great series against England when all players performed very well. We will try to maintain the form we have displayed throughout the year. The team has set some targets which we shall try to achieve," he said.
Tendulkar lavished praise on opener Gautam Gambhir and said the left-hander has proved himself as a key member of the side.
"Gambhir has batted very well throughout the year. He has shown the kind of form that gives nightmares to the opposition. He has shown great consistency, he attacked when attack was required, defended when defence was required.
"He has displayed solid technique and capacity for making big runs. His teammates knew his capability, now the whole world knows about it," Tendulkar said.
The 27-year-old Gambhir had a stupendous year that saw him breaking into the top 10 in the ICC Test Rankings for batsman.
The diminutive Delhi batsman scored more than 1000 runs this calendar year, including three hundreds in his last five Tests.
Tendulkar also asked his critics to stop speculating about his retirement till they hear from him on the subject.
"It will only be right for me to speak about retirement, if and when I feel the time is right. It's not for others to speak or speculate on the subject," he said.
"I have been subjected to such questions for long now. Let everyone wait till I have something to say on the matter," said Tendulkar.
Cancellation of the Pakistan tour allows the Indian cricketers to have more rest before they tour New Zealand and Tendulkar was optimistic that the team would continue to do well on the other side of the break.
"For the next month and a half, we would be free of international engagements. There would be domestic ties and then getting together in time to prepare for the tour to New Zealand.
"Hopefully, our good form would continue next year," he added.
India will tour New Zealand in March-April 2009 for a tour comprising two Tests and five one-day internationals.
Wishing everyone happiness on the eve of new year, Tendulkar expressed hopes that the almighty's blessing would be on India in 2009.