MS Dhoni says the absence of Sachin Tendulkar is a big blow for India leading up to the one-day series with Lanka. Before that, he said players of the calibre of Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid don't have to prove themselves.
All that these statements tell me is that Dhoni is settling in nicely to the political side of his role as captain. It's all very well to say nice things about players when you know they are not going to be in your team.
Actions speak louder than words, however. It's quite well known that it was MSD's strong opposition that kept Ganguly and Dravid out of the one-day team Down Under. As for Sachin, Dhoni must have mixed feelings.
Tendulkar did hold the innings together in the finals of the tri-series in Australia, although the main credit for those victories should have gone to the bowlers. Anyway, his form and fitness have been poor since then - a duck in the only innings he played against South Africa, a groin injury that kept him out of half the IPL, a below-par scoring rate in the IPL, an average of just 15 in his six innings of the Test series in Lanka...
But more importantly, Sachin's absence saves Dhoni from having to split India's terrific opening combo of Gambhir and Sehwag. So methinks Dhoni would be counting his blessings while lamenting the "big blow".