Let Dhoni decide when to retire, he can best judge his mind and body: Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar interacts with Indian team skipper MS Dhoni. (Photo by Satish Bate/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

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Ever since Virat Kohli emerged a possible replacement as the skipper in all formats for India, there has been a huge debate whether current limited over skipper MS Dhoni should hand over the entire leadership responsibility to Kohli. It is sure that the Delhi-born star, who currently leads India in the longest format, is the future captain in all formats. But, the backing of selectors and indeed the team members has installed confidence in Dhoni to continue his fight. His incredible fitness is another factor behind BCCI’s decision to stay put with him despite fluctuations in form.

Every cricket player goes through this phase when age becomes a question and becomes an excuse for the critics to question the player’s ability and longevity. Even Sachin Tendulkar, who had a cricketing career spanned close to two and a half decade, wasn’t immune to these debates. In an interview with TOI, the Master Blaster expressed his opinion on the situation surrounding MS Dhoni.

“His performance shouldn’t be related to age. I still remember that there were articles that T20 cricket is meant for youngsters, which is all wrong. I mean, Brad Hogg is playing at 44. It’s wrong to say that I scored a double hundred in ODIs at 38. Fitness is all that matters. If a player is physically fit, mentally in a state of mind to play for India, let that be his choice. He knows his mind and body better than anyone else. He’s the best judge.”

Sachin clearly thinks that as long is Mahi can keep himself fit for the sport, it should be his choice in deciding when to call times on his career. Performance is more depended on fitness than age.

Speaking on fitness, Tendulkar also held special praise for Virat Kohli for keeping himself incredibly fit and setting a benchmark for cricketers to follow.

“He’s always been hungry, and a good student of the game, his commitment has been very good. He’s surely taken the ‘fitness factor’ to a different level. It’ll have a good effect on the team. I feel the new generation has more awareness about health. All the things are changing when it comes to approaching any sport. There’s more study behind everything.”

“That’s clearly showing. It’s a progression on how players prepared themselves in the 90s. So was the case with players in the 70’s. I remember that a laptop was introduced in our dressing room in 2002. It was revolutionary at that time. Things had started changing slowly. There were foreign trainers and physios in the dressing room. The diet, training methods, the way the players practise, everything has changed.”

Fitness, as they say, is the key to performance no matter what the sport is and it should continue to play the same role until eternity.