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I came up the order after I felt I am not rotating strike freely, says Dhoni

Mohali :He may have silenced his detractors with a fine knock in the recently concluded 3rd ODI against New Zealand but India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, assessing his batting in recent times has said that he is losing the ability to freely rotate strike in the middle.

Dhoni struck 80 runs off 91 balls and shared a 151-run partnership for the third wicket with Virat Kohli who scored brilliant 154 to guide India to a seven-wicket win over New Zealand in the third ODI and help the hosts take a 2-1 lead in the five-match ODI series. The captain moved himself up to number four in the match.

“I have batted lower down for a long time, I think 200 innings down the order. To some extent I am losing my ability to freely rotate in the middle, so I have decided to bat up and let the others finish,” Dhoni said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

He added, “But I know I should still look for the big shots. Once you get 15-20 runs, you get into the groove. There were points in the middle where I had to pull myself from playing big shots, and batting with Virat helps because we know we can get boundaries, and get those quick singles and doubles.”

About his in-form vice-captain, Dhoni said, “Right from the start, he is somebody who always wanted to improve to win games for India. He is somebody who has 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 acknowledged the performance of Kedar Jadav, who picked up 3-29 in 5 overs.

“The surprise package has been Kedar, he has always given us wickets in the middle overs, and that’s when you can restrict the opposition. But we have to finish better with the ball, the last five, six, seven overs. I have no clue how he gets wickets. It’s important to have one in the top five to bowl a few, especially with left-handers in the opposition with him being an off spinner.”

He further said, “I think we would have done better in the last game, but what’s important is coming back and doing well in the next one and I felt it was a very good game for us initially, I thought it would be a high-scoring game, but the bowlers did well in the middle overs to restrict them to 280.”

Man of the Match Kohli, too, was modesty personified as he attributed his knock to “a bit of luck”.

“Bit of luck went my way, I feel sorry for Ross (Taylor), it’s never easy to drop a catch and the batsman carries through. I’ve done that and Brendon (McCullum) got 300 in Wellington,” Kohli said referring to the drop catch when the batsman was on six run mark.

PTI