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OPINION: MS DHONI SHOULD NOT BAT AT NUMBER FOUR

| 1 month ago

Of all the previous Australia tours, 2018-2019 series down-under was unarguably the most memorable one, with India winning both the Tests as well as One-day series for the first time in the history of Indian cricket.  

Perhaps, the current Australian side looked weakest in the last two decades but it still takes balls to win a series against Australia in Australia. India dominated the Australian summer right till the end as they won the third one-day International against Australia on Friday to clinch the series 2-1. 

While India finished the tour with a list of positives, the biggest of all has to be Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s return-to-form. After seven years, India’s former skipper Mahendra Singh has won the Man-of-the-series award for his outstanding performance in Australia. Dhoni scored three consecutive half-centuries in the series, amassing 193 runs at an average of 62.3. 

Owing to his patchy form in 2018, the Chennai Super Kings skipper’s position in the side evoked a lot of questions. And once again fighter MS gave the perfect reply to his critics, smashing three back to back half-centuries, ensuring its fans that MS Dhoni-The Finisher is still alive. 

However, looking at all his three innings he played in Australia, one has to believe that the 37-year-old wicket-keeper is, certainly, not the force he used to be with age obviously not on his side. Mahendra Singh Dhoni now needs a lot more time to get settled and also eats a lot more balls which build pressure on the other end too. Also, his striking ability has also gone down a notch which becomes difficult for the top three, Virat precisely, to bat along who always look for ones and twos to build his innings. 

The three important knocks by MS Dhoni ensured that his finishing ability hasn’t faded yet, however, his strike-rate in the series has been a sign of worry to the team going ahead at the World Cup. Mahendra Singh Dhoni now faces a lot of difficulties to rotate the strike which was quite evident in the series,thus putting a lot of pressure on the other end. 

In the game in Melbourne, Virat was going well and could have finished the game way too early had he not edged the ball to the keeper at 46. In that innings while Virat was playing his shots, Dhoni on the other end wasn’t quick to rotate the strike, eating a lot of balls, which perhaps made Virat restless to get the strike and eventually lost his wicket owing to a loss in concentration.

In the first game in Adelaide as well, Dhoni was playing at a good rate, scoring 51 off 96 deliveries, which had put pressure on the other batsmen, not giving them much time to acclimatize to the conditions.

Unfortunately, Dhoni at four should not be the best choice owing to his lack of ability to rotate the strike at will. Coming in at five with 15-20 overs left in the game, Dhoni will have much time to get in the groove and do what he knows the best in the final overs.