Dhoni right choice as captain, Sachin's performance of concern: Akram

New Delhi: The recent criticism about his leadership skills, notwithstanding, Mahendra Singh Dhoni is still the "right choice" for Indian captaincy but he needs to be "more flexible in his tactics", feels former Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram.

Dhoni's leadership skills came under the scanner in the on-going four-Test series against England, which India are trailing 1-2.

But Akram begs to differ, saying: "I am positive that Dhoni is the right choice to remain as captain, but he has to be more flexible in his tactics.

Wasim Akram.

"You cannot throw the ball to a novice like Ravichandran Ashwin, like Dhoni did in Kolkata, and expect him to produce miracles. India and Dhoni, in particular, are lacking a Plan B when situations get tough, where they have seemed content in containing rather than attacking.

"If the team management feels that a policy of split-captaincy would release the pressure on Dhoni, then may be there is a need for change. But personally I would still have Dhoni over next-in-line Virat Kohli, who is too young to lead Team India," the legendary pacer added.

Akram, however, said veteran Sahin Tendulkar's poor form is a matter of grave concern for the Indian team, which is presently going through a transition after the retirements of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman.

"Rather than drastically overhauling the side, the Indian selectors have done the right thing in making a few changes to the squad. The most pressing concern is the form and future of Sachin Tendulkar," he said.

Akram also criticised left-arm pacer Zaheer Khan and said he looked unfit during the first three Tests against England.

"The on-going transition within the Indian squad has seen pace spearhead Zaheer Khan axed from the side after picking up just four wickets in three Tests versus England so far.

"Despite skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni publicly backing Zaheer, saying he was bowling in the right areas, it has been his alarming lack of pace that has left the English batsmen untroubled," he observed.

"It seems to me that Zaheer's main problem stems from his fitness levels. His run-up is slow and lethargic while his follow-through is almost non-existent. Compare this to the English pacers, James Anderson and Steven Finn. They bowled their hearts out every delivery, constantly touched speeds of
140 kmph.

"Zaheer's stock delivery is the reverse-swinging one, but for it to be effective he will have to run-in a lot faster. He is 34 years old and not getting any younger but if he can improve his physical condition by going back to first-class cricket then India can rely on Zak for a further two years at
least," Akram added.

PTI

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