Melbourne: Number 5 is the “best-suited” batting position for M S Dhoni, Indian captain Virat Kohli said on Friday while hailing the former skipper’s utmost commitment even though “people say a lot of things”.
Kohli expressed happiness that Dhoni , who returned to the ODI team for the Australia series after being dropped in October ahead of the West Indies series, was “amongst the runs”.
In the three-match ODI series with Australia, 37-year-old Dhoni answered his critics by scoring 193 runs, with two unbeaten innings of 50-plus runs, and becoming Man of the Series.
In Friday’s match, he made unbeaten 87 and guided the team to a convincing 7-wicket win, which marked India’s first ever series victory in Australia on this soil.
“MS (Dhoni) batted at number 4 in 2016 for a while. After that he has been pretty happy playing at number 5 and 6 for the team. I personally feel number 5 is the best-suited spot for him because that allows him to get some game time, finish games off and attack as and when required,” Kohli said while addressing the media after India clinched the series with 2-1 win.
“I personally and the management felt that number 5 is the most logical and ideal position for him and the way he batted at Adelaide, he was comfortable in that position and was more himself in that game and from then on he built on to this knock today,” the captain said about his predecessor.
Kohli, who was answering questions about the dilemma over number 4 and 5 positions in the batting, added that when someone like Hardik Pandya is not in the team “you have to strike a balance somehow. So a lot of things vary.”
Kohli described Dhoni as the “most committed player” to the Indian cricket.
“As a team, we are very happy for MS Dhoni that he is amongst the runs because it is very important to get runs under your belt, to get that rhythm and confidence back especially when you are not playing so much international cricket. From that point of view, I think it is a great thing for the team that he has come here and scored in all three games. People say a lot of things, as an individual we know that there is no one more committed to Indian cricket than MS,” the captain said.
“I think people should let him have his space, he has contributed so much to the nation, and they should let him figure out things on his own about his game. He is one of the most intelligent cricketers. He is not someone who is not aware of what needs to be done. So as a team, we are totally in sync and very happy with what he is doing,” Kohli added.
Dhoni, when asked separately at what position he would like to play, said he is happy to bat at any number.
“It is not about where you want to bat; I am happy to bat at any number and after playing for 14 years, I can’t say that I don’t want to bat at number six and want to bat at four,” said the former skipper who is known as a match-finisher.