John Abraham bats for Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Zeenews Bureau

Mumbai: At a time when Team India is drawing flak from all corners for its poor performance at the ongoing Australian tour, Bollywood actor John Abraham has come to the rescue of his close friend and Indian cricket team’s captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Talking to a daily, John made a passionate appeal, saying not write off Mahi. “I have known Mahi for a number of years now, and I would say he’s a small town boy with a very simple heart. He is strong and resilient. Mahi will always remain silent through criticism because he knows that good days will be followed by bad days. When a film of mine has had a poor opening, he smiles and tell me, ‘You have had a bad year but the next one will be better!’ That reassuring statement has stood me in good stead”, said John.

“If the Australian tour has been a bad one, I’m sure it will be followed by a good tour. Mahi knows how to receive the brickbats with the bouquets. He’s one of the most balanced guys I know. He is not going to let criticism affect him. This is just one tour. The minute there`s a better tour, people will revere him again,” he said.

John added, “One thing I feel sad about is how the Australian media is always so supportive of our team and our media isn`t. Don`t be so harsh on Mahi. I am not saying don`t call a spade a spade, but please understand that these guys are playing for our country. Let`s not lose hope so fast. I am and will always remain the strongest supporter of Mahi.”

“I am not irrational in my support of him. I know Mahi as a human being and how he prides himself as an Indian cricketer. He`s a team player first and then a captain. I also know he`s by far the best captain India has ever had. I know what Mahi is going through today, as I have gone through similar situations with my films. But we will both remain silent through criticism and never retaliate. During stressful times, we keep quiet, put our heads down and keep working,” he said.

“I don`t know about Mahi`s statement hinting at a possible retirement from Test cricket by 2013, so I wouldn`t be able to comment on it, but I do know that whatever he does he will do it with conviction and strength of purpose,” John said.