Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 24 August 2019

MS Dhoni best suited at No 5 for India at Cricket World Cup, says Sachin Tendulkar

Tendulkar said having Dhoni in at five would ensure the wicketkeeper-batsman could nudge along before exploding in the final overs

MS Dhoni, seen here for Chennai Super Kings during the 2019 Indian Premier League tournament, should bat at No 5 for India at the Cricket World Cup, according to Sachin Tendulkar. AP Photo
MS Dhoni, seen here for Chennai Super Kings during the 2019 Indian Premier League tournament, should bat at No 5 for India at the Cricket World Cup, according to Sachin Tendulkar. AP Photo

Sachin Tendulkar says India need to space out their experienced batsman when they try to reclaim the Cricket World Cup in England, saying MS Dhoni is best suited at No 5.

India's batsmen at the top of the order are set in stone, with captain Virat Kohli following openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, while all-rounder Vijay Shankar is likely to be tried at No 4 in the earlier games.

Tendulkar said having Dhoni, who captained the side to their last World Cup triumph on home soil eight years ago, next in line, would ensure the wicketkeeper-batsman could nudge along before exploding in the final overs.

"My personal opinion is Dhoni should be batting [at] five," Tendulkar told ESPNcricinfo.

"I still don't know what the team combination would be, but if you are going Rohit and Shikhar as openers, to Virat at No 3 and whoever at No 4 then Dhoni could be No 5. Then Hardik Pandya, an explosive player, follows them.

"That way the experienced batsmen are well spaced out and Dhoni can stretch the game towards the end where he himself can be explosive along with Hardik.

"From No 5-8 you are looking at finishers, who stay till the end and soak in that pressure. I feel we are well equipped to do that."

Tendulkar, part of the India team that won the 2011 World Cup, singled out the contribution of Dhawan, the lone left-hander in India's batting line-up, must bat deep into the matches to help dominate the bowlers, especially the leg-spinners.

"A left-right combination always helps because that means the bowler has to adjust his line every now and then and the [bowling] captain has also to keep thinking," said Tendulkar, the record-breaking batsman and the only player to score 100 international centuries.

"And if there is a partnership the job becomes even more tougher. So, yes, it is important for a left-hander to be there to put pressure on the leg-spinner or for that matter any bowler."

England's home series against Pakistan has convinced Tendulkar that it would be a high-scoring World Cup played on flat tracks and with two new balls which negate reverse swing.

"I believe if you have quality spinners to bowl in the middle overs they would end up picking wickets.

"It is all about bowling in partnerships - if quality bowlers could bowl in tandem and create pressure on the batting line-up, that is one way of countering all these factors [that] I feel are not in favour of the bowlers."

Updated: May 23, 2019 10:50 AM

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