Dhoni has had such an impact on Indian cricket that his name will be indelibly etched in the Indian, if not the world, Hall of Fame. However, his strike rates in one-day internationals have dropped to such a low level that one of his recent innings reminded the legendary Sunny Gavaskar of his own slow-paced innings in the 1975 World Cup.
Promoting Dhoni Position:
One of the key concerns for the Indian cricket team heading into the World Cup 2019 is the lack of good middle order batters to fill the batting slots from No 4 to 6, resulting in a top-heavy batting order followed by a brittle middle order. If I were the selector, I would look at Dhoni’s promotion to No. 4 as a solution to one problem.
Dhoni at No. 4 may provide the kind of consistency the Indian team is searching for at the crease, at his own pace, and without jeopardizing the team’s cause. With his vast experience, calm demeanor in the middle, and 10,000 ODI runs under his belt, Dhoni might assume the role of Rahul Dravid in one-day internationals. Only the legendary Sangakkara (who was a specialist batsman first and then a wicketkeeper) has more runs than him among wicket keepers, but Sangakkara was of a different class and was a specialist batsman first and then a wicketkeeper.
Comparison with other Players:
Dhoni’s promotion to No. 4 increases his chances of batting alongside Virat Kohli, and one can only imagine the kind of running between the wickets these two can provide. The team management might bring in a pair of new finishers at 5 and 6, who could also be part-time bowlers, to cover Hardik Pandya’s overs, who could be employed as a finisher again, particularly while chasing. As a result, the batting order appears to be more strong and capable of facing any obstacle.
Dhoni’s devotion, fitness, desire, and willingness to succeed, not to mention his Midas touch, are unmatched. Dhoni’s significance to the squad as a specialist keeper, experienced middle-order batsman, astute tactician, and superb leader should be recognized by the Indian team management.
When Kohli is fielding in the deep, Dhoni serves as his proxy captain in the inner ring. Dhoni has mastered the DRS to the point where it has been nicknamed the Dhoni Review System.
Dhoni has contributed so much to Indian cricket that he should be given the opportunity to play until the 2019 World Cup and then retire on his own terms. Dhoni’s recent ODI batting average is nearly 50, and his strike rate is likely to improve as he receives more balls to face. Dhoni, once set, is more than capable of dismantling any attack and making up for a lost time.
Instead of breaking their heads trying to find a new no 4, the team management may just settle for Dhoni for the next 15 ODIs leading up to the World Cup. Dhoni will undoubtedly appreciate and justify such a move by the team management, and the team as a whole will benefit as a result.
May common sense prevail and Dhoni finishes his career on a positive note by leading India to victory in the 2019 Cricket World Cup “inputs from www.indianmirror.com”.