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We have to accept that Sachin is no longer available : Dhoni

Johannesburg, Dec 17, 2013 (PTI) 18:02 IST
We have to accept that Sachin is no longer available, says Dhoni
Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni today said his young team has accepted the fact that the iconic Sachin Tendulkar is no longer available and they will have to "move on" and concentrate on the job at hand.

The post-Tendulkar era in Indian cricket begins here tomorrow when the visitors take on a formidable South African side in what will be the real test of character for this new look Indian batting.

"With the last Test match we played in India, it is 100 percent sure that Sachin won't be available for any more international series. It was always good to have him, but now that he won't be there, we have to concentrate on what he have in our hands. We have accepted that fact and moved on," Dhoni said on the eve of the first Test.

This is the first time since November 1996, that all four batting stalwarts from the last two decades, Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly will be missing from the Indian line-up.

It has been a roller-coaster last few seasons for the Indian cricket with the ignominy of having lost 0-8 in Test matches in England and Australia. They have partially pulled it back with six back to-back Test match victories at home.

"Every series is a fresh start. There is no point bringing excess baggage. It is about getting used to conditions and offering what the team has. There are plenty of youngsters in this side, who will get exposure by playing competitive cricket at the Test level. So it's a big positive for us," Dhoni said.

Having already conceded the ODI series 0-2, there have also been question marks on the Indian team's preparations going into the two-Test series, against the likes of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, who have dominated the proceedings so far.

"At Benoni, we could have batted on the first day and made the opposition field on a wet outfield. But that would have been selfish of us because they also have a First-Class season going on. Nobody wanted to get injured so it was good for both teams that the match was abandoned. We did practice on the centre wicket and got the most out of it," said Dhoni.

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