Former India fast-bowler Ashish Nehra, who recently retired from international cricket, has thrown his support behind the under-pressure Mahendra Singh Dhoni who is facing the heat from several quarters after his knock in the second T20 International against New Zealand.
Dhoni had begun the year under severe pressure but had managed to shut his critics after some impressive knocks in the Champions Trophy and the ODI series against West Indies, Sri Lanka and Australia. However, his place in the T20I side has been questioned by many after his recent knock.
The 36-year old had arrived at the crease when India were reeling at 67 for 4 in the 10th over in pursuit of a mammoth 197. But while the situation demanded Dhoni to go all out right from the word go, the World Cup-winning skipper surprisingly took his time and managed just 17 runs off the first 20 balls. He eventually managed to score 49 off 37 but by the time he unleashed the big shots, it was too late as India lost the game by 40 runs.
After the knock, former cricketers Ajit Agarkar and VVS Laxman had said that India should look beyond Dhoni in the shortest format of the game and had also urged to pave the way for youngsters.
However, Nehra has come out in support of his former teammate and went on to say that the wicketkeeper-batsman should be allowed to play as long as he wants and as long as his body allows.
“In every house, you need an elder one and he is there. I hope till next two to three years or as long as his body allows he plays. Cricket is a game of conditions definitely and it is not easy to perform. If it was in mind or if I am coach or captain I will be on his head that he has to play. I am not saying he doesn’t perform he has to play. He is the first guy who will raise his hand and say I am retiring if he is not performing. But I personally feel we should leave MS Dhoni and let him play cricket,” Nehra told ANI.
“He is one guy who is very honest with himself and the country. So, he should definitely play. I see him even to play T20 World Cup in 2020. If I can be a fast bowler at the age of 39. So, with MS Dhoni and his fitness, he can definitely play,” he added.
Video of the day: