Shoaib Akhtar: Give Dhoni a nice send-off
Former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar believes MSD should have quit after the 2019 World Cup and dragged his feet for too long but deserves a farewell nevertheless
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," Akhtar told PTI from Islamabad.
"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. Dhoni, who has not played a competitive game since the World Cup semi-final 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," he said. Akhtar said Dhoni should have ideally retired after last year's 50-over World Cup. "When he could not finish the game in the semi-final [v New Zealand], I felt he should have retired. Only he can answer why he didn't. He should have played a farewell series after that World Cup probably and then said goodbye in a manner befitting his great stature." Talking about the Indian team's inability to win a global event since the 2013 Champions Trophy, Akhtar said Virat Kohli's said: "Winning tournaments is one thing but staying at top is another. India is still the top-ranked Test team and among the top teams in the limited-overs format. We can't rate their performance only in ICC events.
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