Sydney: India vice-captain Rohit Sharma feels that MS Dhoni should bat at No.4, although adding that the iconic former skipper is ready to fit in anywhere for the team’s cause.
Dhoni laboured to a 96-ball 51 before departing as India lost the first of the three One Day Internationals to Australia by 34 runs at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) here on Saturday.
In a World Cup year, there has been debate as to where Dhoni — whose strike rate has gone down in the recent past — should bat.
“Personally, I always feel that Dhoni batting at number four will be ideal for the team but we have got Ambati Rayudu who has done really well now at number four. It totally depends on what the captain and coach think about it. Personally asking, I would be happy if Dhoni bats at four,” said Rohit, who scored 133 off 129 deliveries.
Rohit differed with his captain Virat Kohli who had previously said that Ambati Rayudu was his preferred No.4 batsman.
India were reduced to 4/3 at one stage chasing 289 for victory before Rohit, who scored his 22nd ODI hundred, and Dhoni stitched together a 141-run stand for the fourth wicket.
“If you look at his (Dhoni’s) overall batting, his strike rate is around 90. Today was a different scenario, when he came out to bat we had already lost three wickets and Australia were bowling pretty well. You just cannot go out and get 100-run partnership easily. So we took a little bit of time and even I did not score as quickly as I normally do,” Rohit said.
“I took my time too because we wanted to get that partnership and losing another wicket at that point, the game would have been dead there and then. So, we had to play dot balls and build a partnership.
“It is pretty simple with him and he does not complicate things. We spoke about building a partnership because it was crucial at that point.
“It was great to see him come and bat at number five. We lost three wickets but he is keen to get those runs as well. Over the years, he has shown he is ready to bat anywhere for the team and score runs,” he added.
Asked if India’s middle order was struggling to deliver, Rohit said: “We knew we can put some of the bowlers under pressure. Unfortunately, we kept losing wickets at the wrong time; the first three wickets and then when we were going strong with that partnership, unfortunately MS got out and then we knew it was going to be hard.”
“These things happen, these are the games that will teach you a lot as a batsman, to combat these kind of games when you lose wickets. But we have said enough about learning now. It is time to go and execute, take the pressure and absorb it.”
Talking about other batsmen down the order, he said: “We believe in (Ravindra) Jadeja to play those cameo innings when required but the asking rate was way too much when he came to bat and for any batsman to just start playing shots is not that easy.”
“Surprisingly, the ball was reversing quite a bit so to adjust to that is not really easy for the new batter. I don’t think it is a worry, but it is an eye-opener. Sometimes there will be times where no. 6, 7, 8 need to score those crucial runs. Bhuvneshwar Kumar did that well but had no support.”
On Dhoni’s dismissal, which would have probably been overturned if DRS had been available, Rohit said: “Taking DRS can be tricky. We don’t even have 15 seconds to talk to the batter, only 5-7 seconds by the time they walk over.”
“Rayudu said he thought the ball was drifting down leg side and I thought the same. We don’t think about these decisions once they have happened, and you cannot always be right.”
“It is important to use DRS well. Maybe once we reach Adelaide, we will talk about it. It is a learning for us, but what’s done is done,” he added.