Batting at No. 5 is best suited for Dhoni: Kohli

Melbourne: Indian captain Virat Kohli on Friday said that he personally felt that batting at number five is the best-suited spot for MS Dhoni as he can finish off the game.

“MS Dhoni batted at number four in 2016 for a while after that he has been pretty happy playing at number five and six for the team. I personally feel number five 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 told media in a post-match press conference.

“So, I personally and the management felt that number five 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. Depending on again when someone like Hardik Pandya, who is not in the team, you have to strike balance somehow. So a lot of things vary,” he said.

Kohli further added that Dhoni is the most committed player to the Indian cricket, ahead of a convincing victory in the three-match ODI series against Australia.

“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,” Kohli 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,” the Indian captain added.

Opting to bowl first in the rain-hit final ODI at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), India did not give Australian batsmen a chance to settle in and wrapped up the first innings within 49 overs. Yuzvendra Chahal claimed six wickets, his second five-wicket haul in the format, as India bundled out the hosts Australia for 230 runs within 49 overs.

Australian batsmen were able to read Kuldeep Yadav and score singles easily off him. To get a variation in the team, Kohli said that they added Chahal in the team.

“We felt like they (Australia) were reading Kuldeep quite well and were able to score singles easily off him, picking his variations the hand very well. So, we thought it might not be a bad thing to bring in Chahal for a variation. He became a more sensible option for us in that regard because he spins the ball back in and credit has to go to him for the way he bowled in his first game of the tour. It is absolutely outstanding to take six wickets at the MCG. It is no small feat for a spinner. Chahal and Kuldeep together are the most potent spin balling attack. Just to strike balance in the team, Kuldeep had to make way for Chahal in this game,” Kohli acknowledged.

When asked whether the spinner duo would make it to the team for the upcoming World Cup, Kohli said that both of them are two wrist spinners who can get wickets in the middle order, which is the game changer for any side.

“If they did not get us wickets, we would have been chasing 260 or 270 even though it was a tough wicket. In one-day cricket you have to take wickets and these two guys give us that, so any captain would love that,” Kohli said.

With this win, India have registered their maiden ODI and Test series victory, both by 2-1 on Australian soil. The visitors had levelled the T20I series in November last year.

“We are very happy with this tour, as a team we did our best in all three series. As a captain, I am very happy because the team has given a balanced performance which is a good sign ahead of the World Cup,” Kohli concluded.

India will next play Australia for two-match T20Is and five-match ODIs as part of their home series, starting February 24.