Asia Cup 2016 February 21, 2016

'I don't see myself batting up the order' - MS Dhoni

ESPNcricinfo staff

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MS Dhoni: "l will try to give everybody a game because it is something as important as playing with a settled team."

India's limited-overs captain MS Dhoni has all but ruled himself out of batting up the order in the upcoming Asia Cup T20 and World Twenty20, starting March 8. Ahead of the team's departure to Bangladesh, Dhoni backed a stable, in-form, top order, and said that he would consider promoting a big-hitter instead of himself if there was a big partnership at the top.

"It is very difficult. In a normal scenario, I don't see myself batting up the order because of the batting line we have got," Dhoni said. This is a departure from Dhoni's recent preference of batting at No.4, though in a different format. Dhoni had batted at No.4 in the second ODI against Bangladesh last year in Mirpur, for the first time since July 2012. Dhoni showed glimpses of his best form during the course of his 47, and later said: "I would like to bat slightly up in the order so I can play a bit more freely."

Since that match, Dhoni has batted four times at No.4 in ODIs, scoring 134 runs.

Dhoni, however, explained that the T20 batting line-up was settled, with Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma opening; Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh form the middle order. Dhawan got bright starts against Australia in the T20s in Melbourne and Sydney and then set up India's win against Sri Lanka in the second T20 in Ranchi with a rapid fifty, his first in T20 internationals. Rohit, on his part, hit back-to-back fifties in Melbourne and Sydney, before making 43 in Ranchi. Kohli stroked three successive fifties in Australia, tallying 199 runs in the three-match T20 series, before being rested for the Sri Lanka T20s. From the middle order, Raina and Yuvraj helped India seal a clean sweep against Australia in Sydney with an unbroken 53-run partnership in a tight finish.

"Virat, he is at 3, Raina at 4, Yuvraj Singh at 5, I am 6, Jadeja, Hardik. We may try [a promotion] if there is good partnership; we may try one of the hitters to go up and express maybe from the very first ball," Dhoni said. "But whether I see myself getting that promotion, I think it will be slightly difficult."

Dhoni also dismissed concerns about the No.6 and No.7 batting positions, feeling that they would not have much to do, especially if the top order clicked.

"As of now it [No.6 and No.7] doesn't seem like [a problem]. Usually six and seven won't or should not get an opportunity. If the team is doing well, I don't think No.6 and No.7 will or should get more than 10 balls or 12 balls and you will have to make the most," he said.

Dhoni said he was keen to "give everybody a game"' ahead of the World T20. India named the same team for all three matches in the recent home series against Sri Lanka. It meant Pawan Negi, a left-field selection for the Asia Cup and the World T20, has not played an international game yet.

"I will try to give everybody a game because it is something as important as playing with a settled team," Dhoni said. "It is important for everybody to have games under their belt. Against few of the sides we will really be able to give games to few of the other players who are part of the team but have not got a chance to play so far but still we will look to win games and that's our top priority but the conditions will allow us to give a few games to others who have not played."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Madhusudhan on February 23, 2016, 3:28 GMT

    Wow! I see myself MSD not batting at all :-p MSD's stumpings are still awesome and lightening quick. But his captaincy and batting is awful many a times. His captaincy record in testing conditions against tough opponents is pathetic and pity. Hope he misses a lot of matches with back spasms, Viraat or other dynamic players get captaincy, let Ajinkya Rahane and other quality players get chance to contribute for Team's success. Let MSD be fit only for IPL.

  • J on February 23, 2016, 2:10 GMT

    Most people don't see dhoni in the team at all. He was a good batsmen earlier but in the last few years, his batting has been average and inconsistent. His time in the team is up and if he doesn't realise this, the selectors should drop him.

  • Your_average_ on February 22, 2016, 19:20 GMT

    How come good teams like Ireland

  • Sudhir on February 22, 2016, 17:02 GMT

    Dhoni's keeping was exceptional. If he can continue to get wickets by good keeping that should be more than enough.

  • Raman on February 22, 2016, 17:00 GMT

    A subcontinentalloser belongs to one of the teams which always lose in the subcontinent, and we know which teams they are...

  • Raman on February 22, 2016, 16:22 GMT

    @subcontinentalloser: the fact that you have to go to 2011-12 Aus series to insult Virat Kohli shows your desperation. Why not talk about 2014, 2015 (WC), 2016 just concluded series?

  • Renuchandran on February 22, 2016, 16:20 GMT

    It is very hard for me, a Dhoni fan to say this, but of late Dhoni's game is very boring to watch. We all know that Dhoni has great potential to do big hitting and score very fast. He has somehow transformed into a grafter and yes has done some good finishes. But we want to see Dhoni play like AB De Villiers, Guptill and McCullum, which he can easily, do. He does not even try it even is non-critical matches, or IPL. This is a big disappointment for a lot of Dhoni fans like me. After all entertainment is a big part of this game. Atleast once in a while I want to see Dhoni to go in and rip the bowling apart, hit some big sixes get some fast fifties.

  • Saurav on February 22, 2016, 13:42 GMT

    I think Sanju Samson would have better choice than Parthiv Patel. Also Robin Uthappa,Ravindra Jadeja and Virat Kohli are decent wicket-keepers for there domestic sides and they would have been rightly fit for 20 over game.

  • UdayLakshman on February 22, 2016, 11:31 GMT

    MSD we have respect you for your unselfishness contribution towards team & ur achievements in INDIAN Cricket,But yourself is accepting now that Dhoni bat up the order when India is in a winning position or having a good run rate. When India are in trouble you don't even know what to do.Moreover, Dhoni's biased selection policies mean that we haven't really developed a team for the future under his prolonged tenure as the captain. The selectors must now take a call and drop him at the earliest, Your time is over now so we want you to aidue/farewell grandly,plz go back to home .

  • Manesh on February 22, 2016, 11:20 GMT

    @Subcontinentalloser. Let it be. He is not good for any team any position. But the end of the day what matters is runs and wins. We are ready to accept anyone as long as he scores and win matches for India. Keep your frustration aside and try to win few matches in subcontinent. so that you can change your name.

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