Mahendra Singh Dhoni fittest cricketer in the world, says Wasim Akram
April 2, 2016
Former Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram lashed out at critics who had called for Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s retirement from international cricket after India were thumped by West Indies in the semi-final of the ICC World Twenty20 on Thursday.
Akram said Dhoni is the fittest cricketer in the world and that he still has plenty to offer for the team. Earlier, former Australia captain Ian Chappell had also defended Dhoni and said the Indian team would be happy to have around for now. Soon after India’s semi-final defeat, Dhoni had ridiculed an Australian journalist who asked him about his retirement plans.
“I still think he has got plenty of cricket left in him. He is the fittest cricketer in the world right now. We saw the way he ran between the wickets in the game against West Indies last night,” Akram said in an exclusive interview to India Today. Akram also said it was entirely up to Dhoni to take a call on his retirement and that the wicket-keeper batsman would do it whenever he felt the time was right.
“I don’t know why people are worried about the retirement of sportsmen. It’s completely Dhoni’s call,” he said. Akram also said India couldn’t have done much after losing the toss against the dangerous West Indies at the Wankhede. He said skipper Dhoni wasn’t lucky enough at the toss yesterday. “The first reason that comes to my mind for India’s loss was the toss, you can’t control that. Dhoni wasn’t lucky. Sammy, on the other hand was lucky. It was an important toss because of the dew factor at the Wankhede.”
India failed to defend a total of 192 against West Indies on the big night. Even after losing their star batsman Chris Gayle, West Indies rode on some luck and spectacular batting efforts from Johnson Charles and Lendl Simmons to book a spot in the final of the tournament.
Akram credited the West Indies batsmen who kept their chase on track even after losing their big man. “200 was chasable in that Wankhede wicket. The Indian spinners were not able to grip the ball. However, West Indies played well and they have showed they are one of the best sides in the tournament. Even after losing the wicket of Gayle, they kept the required run-rate under control,” he said.
Akram also heaped praise on star batsman Virat Kohli, who finished as India’s highest run-getter at the tournament with 274 runs. Kohli followed up his 82* against Australia on Sunday with an unbeaten 89 against West Indies last night. “Kohli has taken his game to another level. He got runs in every game. He scored big runs against Australia and against West Indies in the semis,” he said.
Akram called Kohli a total team man and said that he would have been disappointed after his team failed to peak at the right time. “Kohi had a great tournament. He will be disappointed but for individuals like him the team matters more than personal performances,” he said.
Courtesy: INDIA TODAY