India v Australia, 2nd ODI, Nagpur October 27, 2009

Dhoni rules out batting promotion

Cricinfo staff

India's captain MS Dhoni has ruled out a move up the order, citing the lack of space in the top four batting slots, in the face of a growing chorus advising him to bat higher as that would give him more overs to face.

"It's a difficult choice to make. We have Veeru [Virender Sehwag] and Sachin [Tendulkar] opening the innings, Gauti [Gautam Gambhir] at no. 3 and Yuvraj [Singh] at no 4. The next slot available is no. 5," Dhoni said on the eve of the second ODI against Australia.

"I float at times and bat in different slots. More often than not we have a fixed batting line when it comes to these four guys playing the game. If there are more off spinners in the attack we may shift Yuvraj to No. 5 and we have done that. But to say I have to bat every time at Nos. 3 or 4 is difficult for me [to do]."

Sourav Ganguly and Adam Gilchrist both recently expressed the view that Dhoni move up the order to allow him more overs to bat, and on Tuesday Sunil Gavaskar also advocated that Dhoni push himself up. "Those who are good players should always get most of the overs, especially during a run chase when the required rate is above five runs an over," he said. "The team management has to think over it [moving Dhoni up]. This is the reason why Sachin Tendulkar was promoted as an opener so that he gets all the 50 overs to play."

Gilchrist spoke in similar vein but with the empathy of a fellow wicketkeeper-batsman, and pointed out that Dhoni had the added weight of the captaincy. "He's (Dhoni) such a danger to play against. I would like to see him bat up the order especially in the abbreviated version of the game. You want your best batsmen to face as many deliveries as possible," he said. "He has a lot on his plate, I understand that. But I would encourage him to bat higher in the order. But its his decision."

India's bowling at the end of the innings was a concern for Dhoni. Against Australia in Vadodara, India conceded 54 in the last five overs while taking three wickets; against Pakistan in Centurion they gave 41 off the last five; against Sri Lanka in Colombo they leaked 53 between overs 45 -50."It's been a worrying thing for us for the past few months," said Dhoni. "We had not been great with our death bowling. If you see the last game, the first few overs - 42nd over onwards - it was good and in the 50th we gave away one run.

"In between there was a span of four overs when we gave away 50-52 runs. If we can bring that down good, say by two to five runs it can count at the end."