Dhoni Stuck Now, Should Have Retired After 2019 WC: Shoaib Akhtar

Shoaib Akhtar said he hopes MS Dhoni gets a resounding farewell despite his resolute silence on his future.

Updated13 Apr 2020, 05:44 AM IST
Cricket
3 min read

Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar says he cannot fathom why Mahendra Singh Dhoni has "dragged it for so long" as the right time for the maverick ex-India skipper to call it quits was after last year's ODI World Cup.

Akhtar said he hopes the 38-year-old Dhoni gets a resounding farewell despite his resolute silence on what the future holds.

“This guy has served to the best of his ability. He should leave cricket with dignity. I don’t know why he dragged it for so long. He should have retired after the World Cup.”
Shoaib Akhtar

"If I would have been in his place, I would have hung up my boots. I could have played shorter formats for three-four years but I left (after the 2011 WC) as I wasn't into the game 100 per cent. So why drag?" he asked.

MS Dhoni has not played competitive cricket since the World Cup semi-final in July,
MS Dhoni has not played competitive cricket since the World Cup semi-final in July,
(Photo: AP)

Dhoni, who has not played a competitive game since the World Cup semifinal in July, was preparing to make a much-anticipated comeback with the IPL, which is now unlikely to take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

If he had done well in the IPL, there was a possibility of him playing the T20 World Cup in October-November.

Akhtar believes Dhoni is now in a limbo but deserves a grand send-off despite the anti-climactic turn of events.

“As a country, you should let him go with a lot of respect and dignity. Give him a nice send off. He has won you the World Cup and done wonders for India. He is a wonderful human being at the same time. But right now, he seems to be stuck.”
Shoaib Akhtar

Akhtar said Dhoni should have ideally retired after last year's 50-over World Cup.

"When he could not finish the game in the semifinal (against New Zealand). I felt he should have retired but he can only answer why he didn't," he said.

“He should have played a farewell series after the World Cup may be and then said goodbye in a manner befitting his great stature.”
Shoaib Akhtar
Team India is yet to win an ICC tournament under skipper Virat Kohli.
Team India is yet to win an ICC tournament under skipper Virat Kohli.
(Photo Courtesy: AP)

Talking about the Indian team's inability to win a global event since the 2013 Champions Trophy, Akhtar said Virat Kohli's team needs match-winners in the middle-order.

"Winning tournaments is one thing but staying at top is another. India is still the top-ranked Test team and is almost among the top teams in the limited-overs format. So, we should not base their performance only on their showing in ICC events.” said Akhtar.

“Of course, they should win ICC events and they have to. This team, when the top four score, they win more often than not. But if they don’t, then it is an issue. Another thing I noticed is that you need a match-winner like Yuvraj (Singh) or Dhoni in the middle-order.”
Shoaib Akhtar

"When we toured India in 1998, we always thought we would run through India after getting the top order. There was no match winner until Yuvraj came in, followed by Dhoni,” added Akhtar.

"Then you started seeing change in results. Right now, the problem is lack of finishers," opined the 44-year-old.

Shoaib Akhtar believes the current Indian squad needs a match-winner like Yuvraj Singh or Dhoni in the middle-order.
Shoaib Akhtar believes the current Indian squad needs a match-winner like Yuvraj Singh or Dhoni in the middle-order.
(Photo: PTI)

Akhtar doesn't see any cricket happening for the next six to eight months as coronavirus continues to wreak havoc around the world.

But if India's tour of Australia takes place, Akhtar sees all four Tests going down the wire.

India had won their first ever Test series in Australia early last year. But this time, Australia will be a different kettle of fish in the presence of Steve Smith and David Warner, who were serving ball-tampering bans when India toured last.

“Despite the loss in New Zealand, I think India is a very, very good team and can give a tough time to Australia. But again, India have to prove that like they did the last time.”
Shoaib Akhtar

"However, I don't see that series happening. My assessment is there won't be any cricket for next one year. The T20 World Cup is not going to happen,” said the former Pakistan cricketer.

"We are dealing with a pandemic at the moment. Any industry, which requires crowd gathering, is going to suffer," Akhtar added.

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Published: 12 Apr 2020, 07:45 AM IST
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