BANGALORE: Former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns on Saturday said that Sachin Tendulkar should continue playing Test cricket for another year to groom Virat Kohli as a leader and other youngsters.
"Tendulkar should keep going for another year. I don't know, but Kohli needs to get more experience in his company. Kohli is going to be a great player and next captain," Cairns said.
"Tendulkar's presence in the Indian side is important as there are not enough experienced players in the side, especially after the retirement of Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman," he said.
"When Tendulkar hangs his boots for good, it would be sad for the young Indian players including Cheteshwar Pujara and Kohli to miss his experience in the middle," the Kiwi added.
Asked if he were to be an Indian captain would he still give a chance to Tendulkar, who has been struggling for form of late, Cairns said, "Even if he is operating below his benchmark, he is still better than anybody else."
"Tendulkar has to be in the team out of respect and contributions he made in his long career, even though he has not been scoring lots of runs," Cairns said.
Cairns said the Indian Premier League has done a lot of good to Indian players and in next five to 10 years the world will see India producing players of international quality.
"There may be some criticising IPL but it has done good to Indian players. A lot of players have been interacting with international players, trainers and coaches, which has helped them improve their cricket. And they have been learning faster and in professional way which is good for the game," he said.
"However, the next frontier for India is to consistently win abroad," he said.
"It's all about mental prowess than technique to play on bouncier tracks abroad. Rahul Dravid, (Virender) Sehwag and Tendulkar had good records abroad. They played well because they had the mental prowess to play in alien conditions," he said.
Cairns, however, said that India should get their fast bowling department right if they want to be successful abroad.
"Until India finds the fast bowling combination it will struggle. It needs to find that and that's one thing I think that Indian cricket yearns for," he said.
"You cannot have one fast bowler doing all the work. You need a combination of two bowlers. England has Jimmy Anderson and Chris Broad. South Africa has Dale Steyn and Mornie Morkel. The world's dominating teams are those who had a combination of two good fast bowlers. Even Pakistan had Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram," he added.
"Ishant is somewhere about and it is the consistency. If you had Zaheer Khan and Javagal Srinath bowling together I guarantee that India would have been winning abroad," Cairns said.