August 2, 2011

Disagreeing with Sourav Ganguly, former Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram backs MS Dhoni’s tactics at Trent Bridge.

Many experts, including former India skipper Sourav Ganguly, has slammed Indian skipper MS Dhoni’s decision to bowl first in the second Test at Nottingham, but Wasim Akram begs to differ.

Sent in to bat, England were reduced to 128 for 8 on the first day at Trent Bridge, but ended their first innings at 221 and later went on to win the Test by 319 runs. Akram feels he would have also bowled first had he been the captain.

“There was a lot of grass on the morning of Day 1, so Dhoni went by his instincts and I believe he was right to bowl first. Everybody has an opinion but I feel, as a bowler, I would have loved to bowl on that track. I think the ninth-wicket partnership between Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann made the difference, otherwise the move was going as per plan,” said Akram in an exclusive interview to Mobile ESPN from Manchester on Tuesday.

The skipper of the No.1 Test team in the world, Dhoni, has suddenly become the favourite whipping boy after two consecutive losses in England. After having scored just 49 runs in four innings, Dhoni’s keeping skills have also come under the scanner but Akram is defending ‘Captain Cool’.

“You cannot write him off on the basis of two losses. He has won the World Cup for India and has also done well in most parts of the world. Yes, one thing that Dhoni needs to take care off, are his keeping skills. We can’t say that he has failed, rather we can just say that it is a wake-up call for him,” said Akram.

Trailing 2-0 in the four-match series, India are pinning their comeback hopes on the return of Virender Sehwag for the third Test in Birmingham starting August 10. Sehwag will join the team on Wednesday and Akram believes his presence will make a world of a difference.

“Sehwag’s presence will certainly bolster the Indian batting. He has not played cricket for a while but he is a kind of batsman who can be very dangerous. Both Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir form an incredible opening duo for Team India. So I hope they are genuinely fit and help out the team,” said Akram.

Team India has also faltered on the bowling front, allowing England off the hook in both innings at Trent Bridge. The absence of a hamstrung Zaheer Khan is certainly hurting India and Akram feels that the pace spearhead should be looking to bowl as many overs in the two-day warm-up match in Northampton on August 5-6.

“Zaheer has played very little cricket before coming to England. He missed the West Indies tour and it has been tough work for him on the soft English grounds. So I guess he should be looking to bowl for long in the nets and also in the warm-up game against Northants to get match fit,” suggested Akram.

Courtesy: ESPN STAR
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