Pakistan legend Wasim Akram shares his thoughts: Did MS Dhoni retire a bit too early from international cricket? Could he have given another year to Team India?
Three years after his retirement from international cricket, MS Dhoni still continues to be hot property (if not the hottest) in the Indian Premier League. And why wouldn’t he be? In three IPL editions since his international retirement, Dhoni has led Chennai Super Kings to two titles – the IPL 2023 victory being the record-equalling fifth title. What’s more? While batting largely at No.7 or 8 this year, Dhoni has scored at a strike rate of 181 – his best ever. Yes, he did not bat enough balls or score a heap of runs, but whenever he came in to bat, he made an impact. Isn’t that what a finisher’s role is?
After Dhoni’s superb run for CSK in IPL 2023, which was believed to be his last in the tournament, the legendary cricketer announced that he would try to come back next year, just for the fans. With the kind of form and fitness he has shown, despite battling a knee injury throughout the tournament, no one would complain if he does lead CSK again in the next IPL. But does this mean, Dhoni retired a bit too early from international cricket? Could he have given at least another year to Team India?
Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram feels Dhoni perhaps could have played for India for some more time but he took the right decision to call it quits in August 2020. Mind you, Dhoni’s last match for India was in the 2019 ODI World Cup. He announced his retirement a year after keeping everyone guessing.
“He could have still played for India if he wanted to, considering his performances. But, he retired at the right time and that’s why Dhoni is Dhoni,” Wasim Akram told Sportskeeda. The legendary Pakistan pacer also felt that Dhoni will be back next year. “I think he’ll come back stronger next year.”
When asked why he thinks so, he elaborated: “He has the experience, calmness and is physically very fit. Most importantly, he has the passion to play. No matter how fit you are, if you don’t have the passion, you will not be able to come up with performances.”
“He is physically fit and did not sit out of any matches [in IPL 2023]. After a certain age, making a comeback is difficult. But, knowing Dhoni, if that passion is still there, he will train. Match practice is very important, but I am sure he knows what he is doing.”
‘Dhoni can take any team to the final and win’: Wasim Akram
The former Pakistan skipper hailed Dhoni as a “gem of a cricketer”. “He is a gem of a cricketer, a gem of a captain. To win five IPLs with one team is a massive deal. It is such a big tournament. There are 10 teams and you have to play 14 matches each to qualify [for the playoffs]. They started slowly, but you give Dhoni any team, he takes them to the final and makes them win it.
“CSK, five titles is dream stuff. They have become a legendary team and that too in one of the biggest and most difficult tournaments in world cricket.
“Whenever Dhoni quits cricket, I am sure he will stay with CSK as a mentor, a president or whatever the word is. I don’t think Dhoni and CSK will separate,” Akram added.