Azharuddin, India's most successful captain with 11 wins but who was bitterly criticised after the team's semi-final exit from the World Cup this year, said of his successor: ''He has a very good cricketing brain. I hope he carries on and on.
''Sachin is like my younger brother. I really admire the way he carries himself. He is such a nice bloke'', he told a television channel.
The right-handed batsman, whose fate was sealed by further defeats in two limited over tournaments in Singapore and Sharjah as well a Test and one-day series defeat to England, has been dogged by scandal this year, divorcing his wife Naureen earlier this month after a romance with film star and former Miss India Sangeeta Bijlani.
But Azharuddin, 33, who asked to be judged only as a cricketer, said: ''I have come out well. Whatever I have done is of my own free will''.
He added his commitment to Indian cricket was ''total''.
Tendulkar is leading the Indian squad, which includes Azharuddin, on a four-nation limited over tournament in Sri Lanka which begins on August 24. The team then flies on to Canada next month to take on Pakistan in a five-match head-to-head.