Indian limited-overs vice-captain Rohit Sharma feels the former Indian skipper and wicketkeeper-batsman MS Dhoni can be the ideal number four batsman of the national side.
The visiting side Indian cricket team suffered a 34-run defeat against the hosts Australia in the first ODI of the three-match ODI series at Sydney on Saturday (12 January). Chasing down the 289-run target, India lost their first three wickets in just four runs on the board.
After that, the opener Rohit Sharma and the no.5 batsman MS Dhoni provided a brilliant 137-run partnership for the fourth wicket but failed to revive the visiting side to snatch a terrific victory.
Talking about MS Dhoni, Rohit revealed that he always believed Dhoni would be the good option for the no.4 batting slot.
Rohit said after the Sydney ODI, “Personally, I always feel that Dhoni batting at number four will be ideal for the team but we have got Ambati Rayudu who has done really well now at number four. It totally depends on what the captain and coach think about it. Personally asking, I would be happy if Dhoni bats at four.”
Dhoni was slow in the Sydney ODI as he scored 51 off 96 balls (3 fours and one six). However, his innings was very important for the side to stay in the game.
Talking about Dhoni’s slow batting in the Sydney ODI, Rohit said, “If you look at his (Dhoni’s) overall batting, his strike rate is around 90. Today was a different scenario, when he came out to bat we had already lost three wickets and Australia were bowling pretty well. You just cannot go out and get 100-run partnership easily. So we took a little bit of time and even I did not score as quickly as I normally do.
“I took my time too because we wanted to get that partnership and losing another wicket at that point, the game would have been dead there and then. So, we had to play dot balls and build a partnership.”
When the visiting side was struggling on 4/3, Rohit-Dhoni’s impressive 137-run partnership for the fourth wicket put the life in the game. However, it was too late for the visiting side to win that match.
Rohit said about their partnership, “It is pretty simple with him and he does not complicate things. We spoke about building a partnership because it was crucial at that point.
“It was great to see him come and bat at number five. We lost three wickets but he is keen to get those runs as well. Over the years, he has shown he is ready to bat anywhere for the team and score runs.”
After Dhoni’s dismissal, India lost their wickets in regular intervals and they managed only 254/9 at the end of 50 overs and lost the game by 34 runs as Australia scored 288/5 (50 overs).
Rohit added, “We knew we can put some of the bowlers under pressure. Unfortunately, we kept losing wickets at the wrong time; the first three wickets and then when we were going strong with that partnership, unfortunately MS got out and then we knew it was going to be hard.
“These things happen, these are the games that will teach you a lot as a batsman, to combat these kind of games when you lose wickets. But we have said enough about learning now. It is time to go and execute, take the pressure and absorb it.”
India lost their review during Ambati Rayudu’s dismissal while MS Dhoni’s dismissal could be saved if they had the review. When Rohit-Dhoni partnership was at the peak moment, the debutant Australian left-arm pacer Jason Behrendorff dismissed Dhoni (51 runs) after trapping him for the lbw. However, later the replay revealed that the ball was outside the leg. As India hadn’t any review left at that time, Dhoni had to return to the pavilion.
Talking about their DRS failure in Sydney ODI, Rohit said, “Taking DRS can be tricky. We don’t even have 15 seconds to talk to the batter, only 5-7 seconds by the time they walk over. Rayudu said he thought the ball was drifting down leg side and I thought the same. We don’t think about these decisions once they have happened, and you cannot always be right.
“It is important to use DRS well. Maybe once we reach Adelaide, we will talk about it. It is a learning for us, but what’s done is done.”
Also watch: MS Dhoni Almost Got The DRS Wrong
Talking about the lower middle-order battings, Rohit is not worried but added that it was an eye-opener for them.
The Indian limited-overs vice-captain said, “We believe in Jadeja to play those cameo innings when required but the asking rate was way too much when he came to bat and for any batsman to just start playing shots is not that easy.
“Surprisingly, the ball was reversing quite a bit so to adjust to that is not really easy for the new batter. I don’t think it is a worry, but it is an eye-opener. Sometimes there will be times where no. 6, 7, 8 need to score those crucial runs. Bhuvneshwar Kumar did that well and had no support.”
Rohit Sharma was the lone warrior in the Sydney ODI as he fought hard till the end of the game. The right-handed opening batsman scored 133 off 129 balls (10 fours and 6 sixes) before losing his wicket in 46th over.
It was his fifth ODI century in Australia and fourth ODI century against Australia in Australia. Rohit has a hard-luck once again as his all four ODI centuries against the hosts Australia have resulted in the defeats.
Talking about it, Rohit added, “I just wanted to make sure we get those runs and the team gets into a good position. Unfortunately all the four hundreds I have scored in Australia, we have lost all the games. That is one thing I want to change. If I get a hundred I want to make sure that we win the game as well.”