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Dhoni: Tendulkar the ideal role model

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Mahendra Singh Dhoni & Sachin Tendulkar

Mahendra Singh Dhoni has paid tribute to Sachin Tendulkar's continued hunger for the game. "Overall I think he is the ideal cricketer to look up to," India's captain explained ahead of the first npower Test at Lord's

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has hailed Sachin Tendulkar as cricket’s ideal role model as the ‘Little Master’ attempts to bring up his most remarkable feat yet at Lord’s tomorrow.

More so than any match in recent memory, tomorrow’s first Test against England is one dominated by numbers.

It is the 2,000th Test in history, the 100th between the two sides and the start of a skirmish that has the world number one ranking at stake.

But the most eye-catching number of all belongs to Tendulkar, who comes into the match on 99 international hundreds.

That puts him an astonishing 30 centuries ahead of Ricky Ponting, his nearest challenger, and it would be apt indeed if he broke three figures at the home of cricket, where his top score is currently 37.

At the age of 38, Tendulkar still looms large over the world game and his captain is inspired by his continued hunger for the game.

“He loves the game, he has a passion for the game,” said Dhoni.

“Every time he turns up on the field he wants to improve his game. He may have spent one-and-a-half hours on the field (practising), but in that time he makes sure he is learning something and when he goes back to the dressing room he can proudly say ‘today’s time I utilised to the best’.

Praveen Kumar

India must choose whether to include Praveen Kumar, pictured, or Sreesanth alongside fellow pacemen Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma

“He tries to keep it very simple, doesn’t complicate things, overall I think he is the ideal cricketer to look up to with the way he has conducted himself on and off the field. He has remained the same for the last 21 years.”

The International Cricket Council confirmed this morning there would be no recourse to appeal lbw decisions in the four-match series, though a reduced version of the decision review system, featuring HotSpot technology, would be in place.

That is due to India’s scepticism over ball-tracking systems such as HawkEye, whose predictive element has failed to win over the BCCI in time for them to agree on its use in this series.

ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat has expressed his frustration that the full arsenal of technology will not be available to the TV umpire, but Dhoni reiterated his side’s stance.

“We’re not really convinced 100% as of now when it comes to the tracking system, especially with the spinners and the kind of bounce the ball generates,” he said.

“Until we’re 100% satisfied we won’t go on with something that’s not really satisfactory when it comes to our views.

“But of course we are quite happy with HotSpot. I feel that’s a very good technology to be used.”

India are without the injured Virender Sehwag for at least the first two Tests, meaning Abhinav Mukund will open the batting alongside Gautam Gambhir.

Yuvraj Singh will play as the all-rounder and second spinner and there is a late call to be made between Praveen Kumar and Sreesanth.

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