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I feel sorry for Dhoni: Anwar

- Exclusive
- ‘Playing as a unit has made the biggest difference’
Saeed Anwar, on Saturday. Picture by Ramakant Kushwaha

New Delhi: Former Pakistan captain Saeed Anwar, who played international cricket between 1989-2003, spoke to The Telegraph on Saturday evening.

An outstanding opener, Anwar, now 44, is best remembered for his 194 against India in an ODI in Chennai 16 years ago.

The following are excerpts

If he’d expected Pakistan to win the ODIs so comfortably...

Well, I knew India would be under pressure... Playing at home, with some inexperienced players... Pakistan came without pressure, a young team.

What has made the difference for Pakistan...

Playing as a unit has made the biggest difference... Obviously, this is a disciplined Pakistan team.

Opener Nasir Jamshed being in such form...

Actually, I’d spotted him during a camp at the Academy in Lahore... That was a few years ago... I like his temperament.

Pakistan having two captains for the three formats...

It’s working... With so much cricket being played, it’s not a bad idea... Misbah-ul Haq is 38 and, eventually, Mohammed Hafeez (32) could be the one captain across formats.

His take on Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the India captain, being pilloried...

Most unfortunate... I feel sorry for Dhoni... He’s an achiever... He has some young players with him, some out of form players too... The Indian public and the media must be patient... Criticise, but be positive in your criticism... Don’t criticise for the sake of criticising.

If he’d retain Dhoni as captain...

Look, you shouldn’t have a change when the team is losing, for the new captain will be under so much pressure. That could well invite a bigger disaster.

India not having world-class bowlers...

That’s because the pitches in India are dead... The quality of pitches has to improve... Also, 99 per cent of the role models in India are batsmen... Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and some of the others.

Finally, his take on Sachin deciding to only play Test cricket...

(Smiles) No one has played more international cricket than Sachin... He knows best, he understands his situation best. We can have an opinion, but what matters is what Sachin himself feels.