ICC World Cup: ‘Unreasonable’ to criticise Virat Kohli for semi-final defeat, says Shoaib Akhtar

New Delhi: Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar is of the view that criticising Indian skipper Virat Kohli for the team’s defeat at the hands of New Zealand in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup semi-final is ‘unreasonable’.

“Unreasonable criticism of Virat Kohli, it is not acceptable. The reason for this is that he has been a great player, he won many games (for India),” Akhtar said on Thursday in a Youtube video.

India, who were facing a target of 240 runs, were reduced to 5/3 inside four overs. All three top-order batsmen – Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli – scored just one run each.

Despite Ravindra Jadeja and MS Dhoni’s tough fight, India faced an 18-run defeat and failed to find a spot in the tournament’s final.

Acknowledging that Kohli and Sharma, who is the highest run-getter of the tournament with 648 runs, are “great players”, Akhtar asserted that the duo cannot take the team over the line each time.

“Virat Kohli has made India win so many matches after coming to bat at one down and he is a great player. Rohit Sharma is also a great player. After Shikhar Dhawan was ruled out, the pressure was on him. Although Rohit Sharma performed, he cannot score a hundred in each match. Virat Kohli, as a human, can only perform at the best of his ability but he cannot perform in every game. There was a lot of pressure due to which they collapsed. But sudden criticism to Virat Kohli and blaming him for everything is not fair,” he said.

Akhtar also opined that it is time for Dhoni to retire.

“I think it was Dhoni’s last match. He should take an exit now in a proper way. He has done well for India and now it is time (to retire). I think he himself should think whether BCCI will remove him or he will himself make an exit. He should make his decision himself because he is a good player and a good human as well. I do not want anyone making decisions for him,” Akhtar said.

New Zealand will face England in the World Cup final which is scheduled to take place at Lord’s on July 14.