MS Dhoni to bat number 5 or 6 for India, former cricketers spark debate
He successfully led the Chennai Super Kings to their third IPL title.
Updated - May 30, 2018 10:32 am
Former Indian skipper MS Dhoni proved it yet again that he is still among the fittest players in the modern day cricket. Despite being on the unwanted side of the 30s, Dhoni showed great athleticism in the recently concluded IPL 2018. In the tournament, he showed glimpses of vintage MSD who clobbered sixes at will. He successfully led the Chennai Super Kings to their third IPL title.
Now, the IPL is done and dusted. MS Dhoni is all set to don the Indian blues yet again. The begin question that comes next is about his batting position. The former cricketers have already started the debate. While some feel that Dhoni should bat at number 5 to give himself more time at the crease, other players opine that Dhoni should play the role of the finisher at six.
Former cricketer Anshuman Gaekwad reckons the best way to use Dhoni’s brains is by allowing him to spend time at the crease. Kris Srikkanth also backed up this opinion as per the recent quotes in Times of India.
“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 noted.
“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 quoted.
Dhoni as a finisher
The other school of thought believes that considering the vast experience MS Dhoni has, he can be used as low as number 6. Unlike the new recruits, Dhoni will take lesser time to accommodate himself at the crease even if he comes in the lower middle order. Former cricketer Laxman Sivaramakrishnan does not mind seeing Dhoni at number 6. Former India selector, Vikram Rathore, also feels that MS Dhoni fills the role of the finisher ideally for the Indian team.
“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,” Sivaramakrishnan remarked.
“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 conceded.
How about opening?
An opinion very different from the rest came from former Indian pacer Atul Wassan. Wassan drew comparisons between MS Dhoni and Adam Gilchrist. He opined that Dhoni should do what Gilchrist did for Australia. With his attacking ability, he should either open the innings or play in the lower order as a pinch hitter. Wassan, however, admitted that the opening role is certainly not a feasible one and hence, Dhoni fits the number 6 slot at the moment.
“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 mentioned.