Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has opined that the Prime Minister of India might request MS Dhoni to play the next T20 World Cup. He added that it would be great to see the former Indian skipper in action, considering that the World Cup will be played in India.
Shoaib Akhtar shared his thoughts on MS Dhoni's retirement and the latter's probable future plans during an interaction on the YouTube channel 'BolWasim'.
On being asked if he felt that it was the right time for MS Dhoni to take the retirement call, Shoaib Akhtar responded that he could have played the T20 World Cup while adding that it was the wicket-keeper-batsman's personal choice.
"I think he could have played T20 cricket, he could have gone on to play the T20 World Cup. And the way India supports its stars, the way they love them and recognises them, they would have played him in T20s. But it was his personal choice."
Shoaib Akhtar observed that MS Dhoni has already achieved a lot in his cricketing career and that India would always hold him in high regard.
"But again he has won everything, a person from Ranchi has rocked the whole of India, what else do you need. At the end of the day, the world should remember you. And a nation like India, they will never let you get forgetted."
The Rawalpindi Express was further asked about MS Dhoni not being given a farewell. He replied that the entire country would be extremely keen on giving him a grand farewell subject to the 39-year-old willing to be a part of it.
"India will be geared up to give him a farewell game, trust me. If he doesn't want, it is a different thing but India will be ready. The whole stadium will be booked for him to play a couple of T20 matches and then go after that."
Shoaib Akhtar predicted a strong performance from the CSK captain in the upcoming IPL while also mentioning that the Indian public gives the greatest adulation in the whole world, something MS Dhoni deserves to the hilt.
"He is going to hit a lot in the upcoming IPL, he has not retired yet from the IPL. He is a great guy. Whatever he has got is because of his great intentions, his hard work. In the whole world if you are a star, you should be born in India. The amount of love they give, I feel no other country does that much."
Shoaib Akhtar on MS Dhoni's probable future plans
Shoaib Akhtar was also asked about MS Dhoni's likely future plans. He responded that the CSK skipper would probably be playing the next couple of IPL seasons intending to win more titles for the franchise.
The former KKR player observed that the reticent player could completely slip away from the limelight post that, considering his quiet nature.
"I think he will stay with Chennai. I think he will play for couple of years and then think after that. There is a possibility that he may disappear altogether, he is a quiet guy. But as of now he is playing the IPL. I think he wants to win one or two more titles in the IPL."
Akhtar opined that there could also be the possibility of the Indian Prime Minister requesting MS Dhoni to reconsider his decision and play the T20 World Cup, akin to how Imran Khan had prolonged his career at the request of General Zia-ul-Haq.
"You never know, the Prime Minister may call him and request him to play the T20 World Cup. That is also possible. Imran Khan was asked by General Zia-ul-Haq not to leave cricket after 1987 and he played. You cannot say no to the Prime Minister."
On being asked if he personally wants MS Dhoni to play the T20 World Cup, Shoaib Akhtar replied in the affirmative while observing that the whole nation would want him to leave on a high after winning the World Cup on home soil.
"Definitely, the World Cup is in India and they should request him to play his last World Cup. The country loves him so much. I think it is the best for him. I think the Prime Minister of India should request him and tell him to leave after winning India his last World Cup."
MS Dhoni has led India in each of the previous six editions of the T20 World Cup, and won the title in the inaugural tournament in 2007 in South Africa.
Published 18 Aug 2020, 12:03 IST