India has a problem filling in the No. 4 slot. Probably MS Doni can be tried so that he gets more time in the middle.
The prime run of team India in the limited overs, especially in the ODIs, has been phenomenal. The series win against South Africa ensured that Virat and Co. has won 9 bilateral series in a row. Unlike other Indian sides bowling played a key role in the wins along with the top three batsman.
With 2019 world cup nearing, all doesn’t seem to have sorted out for this team. The main concern for Virat and Ravi Shastri is the middle order. Openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan along with king Kohli has been in sublime form and they are giving good starts every time.
But the problem comes when the second wicket goes down. Two of the three main batsman will be in the pavilion. One will be batting and he is not getting enough support from other end. Starting from No.4, 5,6,7 has been main headaches for the selection and management staff.
India has tried too many batsman for No.4 slot starting from Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik , Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, K.L. Rahul and even Kedar Jadav. But what the selectors are ignoring is the fact that there is MS Dhoni in the rankings to fill the No.4 slot. They are still reluctant to accept the fact that he is not the dasher anymore.
Dhoni, couple of years ago, was the batsman who can come in the final overs and smack the ball out of the ground. But the Dhoni in the present form is different. His hard-hitting abilities have gradually reduced. But that doesn’t take away his intelligence, game awareness and ability to handle pressure situations. He is still the best in the business in those aspects.
Now what Dhoni needs at this time of his career is some time in the middle. If he can spend sometime at the crease and play some overs he can still be destructive at the slog overs. But the selectors and the team management are not giving him enough opportunities to settle down into the innings. They still want him to go and smash the ball out of the park from ball one.
With the likes of Hardik Pandya in the team he should be given the role of the hitter and finisher. When Dhoni comes after Virat Kohli and anchors the innings it takes pressure off all the other batsmen, including Virat. Records from past two years also show that when Dhoni bats at No.4 and 5, his average and strike rates are much higher.
So as none of the other batsmen, including Rahane, have not proved useful at No.4, India can afford to try MS in that position. Having a cool and composed batsman like him in the middle overs will also increase the pressure on the bowlers.