Bangalore: There is probably no other man who understands the load on Mahendra Singh Dhoni better than legendary Pakistan wicketkeeper and former captain Wasim Bari.
The man who held the record for the most Test dismissals for a sub-continent keeper till recently, when none other than Dhoni surpassed him, feels the Indian skipper is an extraordinary person. “Dhoni is a very special person and he’s done a remarkable job as captain,” Bari said in an exclusive chat with MAIL TODAY, praising the man from Ranchi for handling the pressures that come with leading the Indian team.
Bari, who is here as a goodwill ambassador, not only understands the load on a ’keeper; he knows the strain that captaincy puts on a wicketkeeper-batsman; more importantly, coming from a similar culture in Pakistan, the legend can fathom the pressure an Indian captain faces in this cricket-crazy part of the world.
And Bari, clearly, is in awe of Dhoni. “Wicketkeeping itself is an immensely tiring job. But Dhoni is not just the wicketkeeper — he’s a motivator for the team and then he bats extremely well. Topping all that, captaincy is a very demanding job. All wicketkeepers can’t do what Dhoni does,” he said.
“I could only keep and bat. I never enjoyed captaincy. I was captain for a short while, but I can tell you I never relished it. Personally, I can say captaincy is a burden for a wicketkeeper,” Bari admitted candidly.
On top of these factors, the amount of cricket the Indian team plays, with Dhoni as captain in all three forms of the game makes the load on him unimaginable.
After the whitewashes in England and Australia, Dhoni has come under increased scrutiny for leading India to a series loss at home against England, with many calling for him to be sacked. “Dhoni has done well until recent reverses against England and Australia,” Bari said. “Different countries follow different policies. But in India, they have their own way. It’s for the selectors to decide on split captaincy.”