Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here

Home > Features >

MS Dhoni should bat at No 5 to stabilise Indian batting

MS Dhoni has to move himself up the order to provide more stability to India's batting © Getty Images
MS Dhoni has to move himself up the order to provide more stability to India’s batting © Getty Images

By Shrikant Shankar

 

India have struggled to find a consistent batsman for the No 4 and No 5 slots in One-Day Internationals (ODIs) off late. All batting positions are important in any form of cricket, and if there are issues in two of the top-order slots, a team if bound to struggle. It can quite happen that a flurry of early wickets can leave a team in a tough situation, but the middle-order has to be able to cope with that and stitch together partnerships and build innings. India are currently unable to do that due to the poor form of some of their players. That is why the man perennially in form — MS Dhoni should bat at No 5 rather than No 6 for India.

 

The top three positions in the Indian ODI batting order are set — at least for now. Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma will be India’s opening pair for the time-being despite their own recent lack of runs. They have done well as a pair and need this experience of batting together in New Zealand conditions in order to prepare for the ICC World Cup 2015 jointly hosted in Australia and New Zealand. Let’s leave any talk about the No 3 position as there is no one better in the world than Virat Kohli for that position. It is the No 4 and No 5 slots that are causing India a concern at the moment.

 

They have tested many players at those slots in the last few months. Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Ambati Rayudu and Dinesh Karthik have primarily been used at No 4 from the ICC Champions Trophy 2013. It is an important position and for the first ODI against New Zealand at Napier, Ajinkya Rahane was used. But Rahane has not been given enough chances for India and he needs more time. The No 5 position, however, is another area of concern. From the Champions Trophy onwards, only four players have been used at No 5 fore India — Raina, Yuvraj, Karthik and Dhoni. The Indian captain has played only one innings at No 5 in that time period, so, let us exclude him from our analysis.

 

Below is a table of Indian batsmen who have batted at the No 5 position from June 1, 2013, onwards in ODIs:

 

Player

M

R

Ave

SR

HS

Suresh Raina

16

238

21.63

82.06

44

Yuvraj Singh

6

19

4.75

76.00

12

Dinesh Karthik

5

38

19.00

56.71

22

 

Note: Dhoni has not been included in this list.

 

 

Dhoni has always been a massive player for India. He may not have the greatest of techniques, but he can score a lot of runs and fast. His average in ODIs is at a lofty 52.79. This shows that for the most part of his career, he has been in great form. He is also one of the few batsmen who have batted in Australian and New Zealand’s conditions before. He seems to outscore batsmen at the No 4 and No 5 slots from his usual No 6 position on a regular basis. Clearly, after Kohli, Dhoni is India’s best batsman form wise. Dhoni has excelled in most of the positions he has batted in throughout his career.

 

Below is a table showing Dhoni’s career ODI records while batting at No 4, No 5 and No 6:

 

Batting position

M

R

Ave

SR

100s

50s

HS

No 4

18

910

70

103.4

1

9

109*

No 5

48

1,910

54.57

85.53

3

9

124

No 6

95

3,040

46.06

84.25

1

21

139*

 

For the bulk of his career, Dhoni has batted at No 5 and No 6. From the start of his career till about the last year or two, Dhoni has had the batsmen of the caliber of Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj, Sourav Ganguly, Gautam Gambhir and Kohli in the team. When these players have been a part of the team and also in great knick, Dhoni was not needed higher up than No 6. Plus, Dhoni is India’s best finisher in the shorter formats, so, it didn’t make sense for him to bat higher.

 

But now there seems to be a genuine problem at the No 5 position. Even if India get off the fliers and the top-order clicks, there does not seem to be batsmen who can carry the momentum forward and to help achieve victory. In fact, all the momentum is lost and Dhoni has to do a lot more to bail India out. The table shows that Dhoni has his best numbers in ODIs when he has batted at No 5. This is simply due to the fact that he gets a lot more time and deliveries to get settled in and then power-on.

 

Things are not working that well right now for India and that is why Dhoni must bat higher up the order. If things click, then it can only improve India and help them in the defence of their World Cup crown. And on that note, one should not forget that Dhoni batted at No 5 to win India the 2011 World Cup final.

 

(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 25, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Dubai

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 25, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Dubai

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 26, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 26, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 27, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Sharjah

More

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 24, 2014  at Sharjah

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 2 runs

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 23, 2014  at Dubai

Chennai Super Kings won by 7 runs

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 22, 2014  at Sharjah

Kings XI Punjab won by 72 runs

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 21, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Chennai Super Kings won by 93 runs

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 20, 2014  at Sharjah

Kings XI Punjab won by 7 wkts

Photos

CSK vs DD, IPL 2014 Match 8 at Abu Dhabi

Videos

IPL: Tanmay Mishra talks shows the contents of his kit

Sachin Tendulkar — One of the hardest terms to optimise for any SEO professional

Sachin Tendulkar changed the fortunes of cricket journalists in India

Sachin Tendulkar — the greatest batsman of India

Sachin Tendulkar: A timeless fairytale

Sachin Tendulkar: The child, the father, but sexy? Not quite

Chennai Super Kings Delhi Daredevils Glenn Maxwell India IPL IPL 7 IPL 2014 Kings XI Punjab Kolkata Knight Riders MS Dhoni Rajasthan Royals RCB vs KKR RCB vs KKR 2014 Royal Challengers Bangalore Sunrisers Hyderabad

Moin Khan hints at change of captain for Pakistan’s ODI side

Chris Lynn helps Kolkata Knight Riders escape with stunning 2-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in Match 11 of IPL 2014

PCB change Muhammad Akram’s role from bowling coach to national selector

RCB need 18 off the last 2 overs against KKR

RCB lose Virat Kohli bust stay in control against KKR

Sachin Tendulkar given out off a wrong replay on his birthday in IPL 2011

Happy birthday! A bouquet of CricketCountry’s best Sachin Tendulkar features

Sachin Tendulkar – The century of centuries in tweets

Sachin Tendulkar — One of the hardest terms to optimise for any SEO professional

Sachin Tendulkar changed the fortunes of cricket journalists in India

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

622 Posts | 7 Fans

Video Highlights: Virat Kohli's 77 during India vs Sri Lanka ICC World T20 2014 final at Dhaka

Vic Gundotra, Google+ head leaves company

7 health benefits of eucalyptus oil

Are Himesh Reshammiya and Yo Yo Honey Singh overconfident about The Xpose?

IPL 2014: Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) vs Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Match 11 at Sharjah

Are electronic cigarettes actually safe for you?

Xbox users are spending 5 hours a day on the console!

Moin Khan hints at change of captain for Pakistan’s ODI side

Entertainment Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega promo: Anu Malik-Farah Khan return to small screen with their signature shayaris!

Also on cricketcountry.com