Akhtar’s harsh captaincy verdict for India ahead of World Cup

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Between 2007 and 2013, a shining era unfolded for India in terms of their accomplishments in ICC tournaments. Within the span of seven years, India secured three distinct trophies, only to face a trophy drought from 2014 up to the present day. As India prepares for yet another attempt to break their decade-long quest for another ICC trophy, Shoaib Akhtar, the former Pakistani cricketer, conducted a critical evaluation of these two periods.

He posited that the calm and composed presence of MS Dhoni made a pivotal difference for India during their golden phase, in stark contrast to the “panicky” demeanor of Rohit Sharma and the “over-aggressive” approach of Virat Kohli.

During an interview on the show “Backstage With Boria,” Akhtar elaborated on his perspective. He contended that the absence of the composure exhibited by captains like Dhoni has resulted in India’s inability to secure another ICC trophy in the last ten years. Akhtar also remarked that although Rohit, the current captain, is a phenomenal player, he tends to become unsettled under pressure and, consequently, should not have assumed leadership.

“There was a time when a certain individual shouldered the entire team’s burden – that individual was Dhoni,” Akhtar articulated. “Only a captain can serve as a shield for the entire team. Rohit is undoubtedly talented, but his composure falters when he is in charge; he becomes jittery. These words may seem harsh, but I genuinely believe he should not have taken on the role of captain.”

The cricketing legend from Pakistan acknowledged that Rohit might excel as a batsman more than Kohli. However, he expressed reservations about Rohit’s decision-making abilities during critical junctures of matches and suggested that the 36-year-old should evaluate his captaincy critically as well.

“Even compared to Virat Kohli, Rohit’s batting prowess stands out,” Akhtar continued. “His timing and shot selection are impeccable – he embodies a classic batsman. Yet, was he naturally suited for captaincy? I often ponder this question. Does he consistently respond well in pivotal situations? I find myself questioning this. He should also be introspective about it.”

Despite offering this critique, Akhtar extended his support to Rohit, expressing his belief that the upcoming 2023 ODI World Cup, hosted on home turf, could be a chance for Rohit to defy his skepticism. He speculated that this could potentially be Rohit’s final white-ball captaincy role.

“Undoubtedly, Rohit possesses the capability to secure this World Cup,” the 48-year-old stated. “Given the backing of the home crowd, along with his team and his exceptional talent, he has the potential to prove me and everyone else wrong. I am confident he can achieve that. However, since 2013, India’s captaincy has shown vulnerabilities, even under Kohli. Kohli tended to become excessively aggressive, while Rohit exhibited signs of anxiety.”

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