MS Dhoni’s batting position for the 2019 World Cup has been a hot topic of discussion over the last few months.
Earlier, with MS Dhoni not being in the best of forms, critics and fans were calling for his head, but his presence in the middle in Australia proved that India needed him at the World Cup, now more than ever.
India has had an issue with their middle order ever since the 2015 World Cup, with double digit players tried in that role, but none of them really cementing their place in the side.
With no games left for India before the 2019 World Cup now, Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri are still uncertain about who should play the role of India’s number 4 batsman in England.
Anil Kumble, who was unceremoniously removed as the coach of the Indian cricket team after the 2017 Champions Trophy, has confirmed that India need to put their foot down and play MS Dhoni at number 4.
“The top-4 will win you 70-80% of matches and ideally your top-4 need to have that quality and that’s why I’m keen that someone like MS Dhoni bats at 4 and manages the middle order.”
— CricketNext (@cricketnext) March 15, 2019
MS Dhoni’s batting position for 2019 World Cup
“If you look back at the last couple of years of success that the Indian team has had, it has been mainly due to the fact that the top three have performed consistently, and it still remains so. In a 50-over game, you want your top three to contribute,” Kumble said as quoted by CricketNext.
“But what if they don’t contribute? That’s why we’re discussing and debating our middle order.
“For me, I still believe MS Dhoni should bat at 4. [Numbers] 5, 6 and 7 is something that you need to start thinking about and that’s where I felt that there was too much chopping, changing and trying to figure out who will fit in into that 4, 5 or 6 in that middle order other than MS Dhoni. That to me has made it a little more unsettling for us, watching from outside.” he added.
Anil Kumble feels that India still haven’t figured out the combination that they want to go into the 2019 World Cup with.
The middle order isn’t sorted out and that could be India’s biggest nemesis, especially if the top 3 fail to perform.
“I’m not really sure the Indian team believes that they’re still a little unsure about that position. But in a World Cup you want everybody to contribute,” Kumble said.
“What if the top three don’t fire in an important game, say a semi-final or a final?
“Then you need the back-ups to stand up and do it and that’s where I believe that the middle order hasn’t been given enough opportunities leading up to the World Cup and haven’t been consistent with the players that have been selected in that middle order.” he added.
Also, speaking about the idea of playing Virat Kohli at number 4, Anil Kumble admitted that he wouldn’t want Kohli to be pushed down the order, as he was India’s best batsman, and needed to bat in the top 3.
“Virat is so good a player that he can bat anywhere in the batting order … 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, wherever you want him to bat. But I think, ideally you’d want the top three to be finishing things off and that’s what’s been successful over the last couple of years for India, where you have Shikhar [Dhawan], Rohit or Virat, three of them performing consistently,” he said.
“So, I’d like to probably continue that and like I said, for me the top four will win you 70-80% of matches and ideally your top four need to have that quality and that’s why I’m keen that someone like MS Dhoni bats at four and manages the middle order, rather than coming in where he has to not just manage the middle order but also keep up with the run chase, that’s something I would want to see.” he concluded.
Where do you think MS Dhoni should bat in the 2019 World Cup?