Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Indian team’s skipper, has acknowledged that he is no longer the top quality finisher that he used to be. He therefore recently placed himself in the number four batting position, and allowed Virat Kohli and Manish Pandey to finish.
Dhoni explained: “I have batted lower down for a long time, I think 200 innings down the order. To some extent I am losing the ability to freely rotate in the middle, so I have decided to bat up and let the others finish.”
Dhoni explained that while other batters could play as number four, he moved himself into that position, allowing others to play the finishing positions since it was the best place for him to be.
“One has to see that I am not playing Tests anymore,” commented Dhoni. “Lower down, I play according to what the situation demands. Batting at number four was an ideal position to express myself. It is more of my need than the team’s. There are other guys who can play at four too but we need to think about grooming batsmen to bat five, six and seven.”
At the same time, Dhoni had a lot of praise for Virat Kohli in the series against New Zealand. He gave him much of the credit for winning matches against the Kiwis.
“Right from the start, he is somebody who always wanted to improve to win games for India,” enthused Dhoni. “He is somebody who learnt a lot and he is somebody who knows his strengths really well. It’s very difficult to say what the top level is in cricket, but Kohli has done India proud.”
Dhoni was asked if Kohli was one of the best cricketers he had ever played with. Dhoni made it clear that cricketers from different eras of cricket should not be compared and that since the game has changed over the years, there is no real comparison to be made. He further emphasised that Kohli is among the best players, and that he maintains quality shots without taking big risks.