Shoaib Akhtar: Give Dhoni a nice send-off

Updated: Apr 13, 2020, 07:42 IST | PTI | New Delhi

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

MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni

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.

Shoaib Akhtar
Shoaib Akhtar

"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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