• Dhoni still ponders batting line-up

    MS Dhoni has defended the decision to again change India’s batting line-up in their defeat to South Africa after they failed to chase down 271.

    Virat Kohli walked out at No 3, a position many feel he is best suited for, and he scored 77, his first fifty since the World Cup. Dhoni himself came in at No 4, a position he has said in the past he wanted to bat at but could not because of the relative inexperience in the line-up.

    Ajinkya Rahane, who came in at three in the first two ODIs, came in at No 6, below Suresh Raina.

    ‘I want to bat up the order but I also want people who can contribute lower down the order. So I have to mix and match it and what will be good will be if I can bat a number of overs, create a partnership and if I have played enough deliveries I can play the big shots later on,’ Dhoni said.

    ‘That’s the thinking behind it, but it means that a few of the other batsmen will also have to accommodate according to that. They may score at times, they may not score at times, but the good thing is they’ll get experience of batting down the order.

    ‘Also because at times I felt the Indian batting line-up becomes quite rigid, but at times when you bat down the order you get to know what are the difficulties. I won’t say it’s easy to bat up the order but you always have the cushion of three-four batsmen behind you so you know you can play your big shots.

    ‘But once you are batting at five or six, No 7 is quite thin so when you are looking to play the big shots, you have to back yourself and say, “OK, I can’t really mistime it.” These are the pressures that you have to go through if you are batting down the order.’

    Dhoni rued that not enough runs were scored in the first 10 overs when openers Rohit Sharma (65) and Shikhar Dhawan (13) batted and then between 30 and 40 overs when he and Kohli got together.

    ‘I don’t think we got enough runs in the first 10 which was a crucial phase with the wicket getting slower. And 30th to 40th again was another crucial period. We wanted to bat quite late and at the same time we started playing the big shots close to the 37th over.

    ‘But though I and Virat were set we were not able to connect and play big shots. We never middled anything. Also not to forget the outfield over here is big. It was a tough one, especially with less pace on offer and you have to play the big shots,’ Dhoni said. – Times of India

    Picture: BCCI

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