Asked if he felt Dhoni could have played the 2021 T20 World Cup, Akhtar replied in the affirmative, stating that he would have been included in the team if available.
“I think he could have gone on to play the T20 World Cup. The way India supports its stars, the way they love them, and recognizes them, they would have played him in T20s. But it was his personal choice,” Akhtar said while speaking on the Youtube channel ‘Bol Wasim’.
Praising the former India wicket-keeper, the Rawalpindi Express added that Dhoni has achieved almost everything one could have as an international cricketer. “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 forgotten,” Akhtar added.
The Pakistani legend also stated that India will give a grand farewell to Dhoni if such a match is organised. “India will be geared up to give him a farewell game, trust me. If he doesn’t want it, it is a different thing, but entire India will be ready.
“The whole stadium will be booked for him to play a couple of T20 matches. He still has not retired from IPL. He is going to score big runs in the IPL,” Akhtar further stated.
The retired speedster also claimed that if Indian Prime Minister requests Dhoni to play the T20 World Cup in 2021, Dhoni would not be able to turn it down.
“He still is not done. He is still going to play IPL for at least two more years. 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,” Akhtar explained.
Meanwhile, Dhoni will lead CSK in the 13th edition of the IPL, which gets underway from September 19 in the UAE.
--By A Cricket Correspondent