February 22, 2012

Former Pakistan skipper feels Dhoni is either finding seniors players difficult to manage or wants to phase them out.

Even if the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) denies that there is any dissention in Team India, someone very close to all the ‘action’ feels otherwise. Wasim Akram, who is part of the ESPNSTAR Sports’ commentary team Down Under, says MS Dhoni’s reactions on ‘slow’ players in his team is an indication of disgust and ‘absolutely a genuine’ opinion.

Speaking to espnstar.com from Hobart on Wednesday, Akram felt there can’t be any smoke without fire. Dhoni, who is fervidly backing his rotation policy, had indicated that slow and sloppy senior players forced the team management to employ the batting cycle at the top. The skipper clearly hinted that Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar were not the best of fielders in ODIs.

Akram agrees to Dhoni’s views. Even if Sehwag hit back at Dhoni’s reactions, Akram said: “In my opinion, Dhoni is a very intelligent person and I totally agree with him because he says what he thinks. There must be a very good reason behind his comments. I have never heard Dhoni speaking in such a manner.”

Akram feels Dhoni might be struggling to handle the seniors and wants to phase them out of the team. “I think either the seniors are not in his control or they are a liability,” he said.

The former Pakistan captain, who is no stranger to team politics and dissent, feels Tendulkar and Sehwag may be the Gods of cricket but they will have to be physically fit to sustain themselves in the ODI format.

“As the grounds are big in Australia, players have to be in the best of their health to play. Nobody questions Tendulkar’s fitness, either you see him fielding at short third-man or fine-leg. You can hide your fielders in Test and T20s but not in ODIs,” Akram added.

Akram also questioned the role of coach Duncan Fletcher in team selection.

“If I am the coach, I will send the best batsman to open the innings. Gautam Gambhir has scored in 90s twice in the series so far and he is the best opener available. It is up to the team management to decide who will be his opening partner.

“That will also give you a left hand-right hand combination. In the match against Sri Lanka we saw both the out-of-form batsmen opening the innings and your best is coming at No.3. So, what is the use of keeping a coach when he is not able to decide?” fumed Akram.

Food for thought for the BCCI for sure. Fletcher has certainly used Dhoni to his advantage. But it’s time the former Zimbabwean showed his worth as a shrewd tactician.

Courtesy: ESPN.STAR

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