Dhoni’s batting position in Asia Cup 2018: Sportsrush presents before you the predicted batting number of MS Dhoni for the upcoming Asia Cup.
Former India captain and current wicket-keeper batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni will have a key role to play in the imminent Asia Cup in UAE. Having played the tournament in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016, this will be Dhoni’s sixth appearance in the Asia Cup. It is also worth mentioning that India had reached the final of the tournament under him in 2008 and won it in 2010 and 2016.
In which will be Dhoni’s first Asia Cup as a non-captain, he still will have a substantial amount of responsibility for the current Indian team will be without their regular captain in Virat Kohli. In such a situation, Dhoni’s role in the ODI side is likely to enhance.
With the Indian team still looking for an ideal candidate at the No. 4 spot in the ODIs, it is crucial for the team management to fix Dhoni’s spot. With another temporary No. 4 and a new No. 3, the Indian batting line-up can’t afford to keep Dhoni as a floating option. Therefore, grooming someone (out of the given options) at No. 4 and playing Dhoni at No. 5 seems to be a strong combination for India.
There is no hiding to the fact that Dhoni has started to take more time in settling in in the last year or so. After resigning from the captaincy of the ODI and the T20I team (in January last year), Dhoni’s strike rate has come down by 6.7 runs per 100 balls. Before the start of 2017, Dhoni was striking the ball in ODIs at a strike rate of 88.8. In the last 20 months, that has dropped to 82.1.
Numbers are clearly evident of the fact that Dhoni is best-suited in the middle order to guide the innings. The rest of the middle order can revolve around him rather than depending on him to hit the mighty blows in the death overs. Moreover, with Kedar Jadhav and Hardik Pandya coming in to bat after Dhoni, that duo has it in it and can be entrusted with using the long handle towards the end of the innings.
So, whilst Dhoni provides stability to a sans Virat Kohli batting line-up in a case of a top-order collapse, the likes of Jadhav and Pandya can go for the life of bowlers on the flat tracks of UAE. With ODI strike rates of 109.01 and 114.52 respectively, there is no reason why Jadhav and Pandya can’t perform this job.
It is true that Dhoni has enjoyed considerable success at No. 3 (993 runs in 17 matches at an average of 82.75 and a strike rate of 99.69) in ODIs. But that position is not up for grabs. Batting in the middle order (number 4-7), Dhoni has averaged 49.74 and scored 8,904 runs in 298 matches at a strike rate of 87.22.
Further diving into this analysis, one realizes that No. 4 seems to be the best for Dhoni as he has scored 1,230 runs (in that position) in 27 matches at an average of 55.90 and a strike rate of 94.98. In a team sport, there’s a category above best, which states what is best for everyone in the team.
According to that category, Dhoni seems to be India’s best fit at No. 5. In the 69 matches that he has played at No. 5, he has scored 2,760 runs at an average of 53.07 and a strike rate of 87.59. Just the numbers you would want from your No. 5 batsman. An intriguing fact about Dhoni at No. 5 is that out of his 10 ODI centuries, four have come at No. 5.
Dhoni’s average drops down at No. 6 and 7, although his strike rate (95.69) at No. 7 is his highest in the middle order. As other batsmen possess a better strike rate at that spot, Dhoni batting at No. 5 is highly likely to generate optimum results for the team.