After a stupendous show with the bat higher up the order for Chennai Super Kings, the 2018 IPL champion side, experts are now backing MS Dhoni to bat at No. 5 instead of No. 6 for the Indian ODI team. The numbers confirm that if the former Indian captain comes up in the batting order, Indian team is more benefitted.
Former stalwarts like Anshuman Gaekwad, Krishnamachari Srikkanth and L Sivaramakrishnan have no hesitation in saying that Dhoni should be made a permanent fixture for India at No. 5 for the 2019 World Cup in England while others like former selector Vikram Rathore and current Delhi selector Atul Wassan believe that his role as the best finisher in the world shouldn’t be altered.
Former manager-cum-selector of the Indian team Gaekwad said that Dhoni isn’t getting younger and, therefore, he would need a few deliveries to settle down before launching his trademark strokes. So, Dhoni at No. 5 is the best way forward.
“Dhoni’s ability to control the game is amazing. If he gets the time to settle down by batting up the order, he will be a tough nut to crack for the opposition teams. I would really make him bat at No. 5. I also believe that Dhoni batting higher up the order will give him the allowance to comfortably win games for India,” Gaekwad said while heaping praises on the CSK captain.
Another former chairman of the selection committee Srikkanth too agreed that the 2011 World Cup winning captain should bat at No. 5. “Dhoni has shown what he is capable of doing while batting up the order. And there is no better batsman than him in that position. I would cast my vote in favour of Dhoni batting at No.5,” Srikkanth said.
Former leg-spinner Sivaramakrishnan said that Dhoni has shown remarkable batsmanship in the recently concluded IPL and there is no better way to use him other than the No. 5 position, which was his batting position for the Indian team. He also predicted that Dhoni could go beyond the 2019 World Cup.
“A player like Dhoni can’t be used as low as No. 6. He can’t be seen playing last five to seven overs in an ODI game. The kind of batting he has shown in the IPL, I think he should continue with the same batting order like he did in the CSK matches. It will only help the team and world’s biggest all-rounder should get that luxury,” Siva added.
However, Rathore is of the opinion that Dhoni is known to the best finisher of the game and so his batting order can’t be changed. “He is the best finisher and we have seen in this year’s IPL what he can also do with the bat. He also answered his critics well by finishing almost all the games he batted for CSK,” Rathore said.
Even Wassan said that promoting Dhoni ahead of other full-time batsmen won’t look good for the team because the CSK skipper is also a wicket-keeping all-rounder. “Either he could be opening the innings like Adam Gilchrist which he isn’t going to happen or he should continue to play the role of finisher.
Unlike Gilchrist who was used a pinch-hitter in the initial part of his career, Dhoni batting at a little below will only ensure more depth to the Indian batting line-up. It could be dilemma of the Indian team to put him up ahead of the regular batsmen for the fear of undermining them. But based on certain situation, I would love to see Dhoni batting up the order for sure, but it can’t be a thumb rule,” Wassan added.