Batting at number four is more of my need than team’s requirement, says Dhoni

Mohali :India ODI captain MS Dhoni after winning 3rd ODI against New Zealand made it clear that batting at No 4 is more of a need out of compulsion as his game was getting affected lower down the order.

“I am happy to score runs. I wanted to do this (play an innings like that) for a long time. I could express myself today. It doesn’t happen at number 5 or 6. Batting lower is hampering my batting to a certain extent,” said Dhoni after scoring a crucial 80-run knock in the third ODI.

It was Dhoni’s first half century in last 11 innings.

Dhoni promoted himself ahead of Manish Pandey after batting at five in the earlier games. The move paid off as he paced his innings well and shared a match winning 151 run stand with Virat Kohli.

The skipper explained why he made the call of batting higher up the order.

“I wasn’t fluently rotating the strike (batting at five or six). I feel that has hampered my batting to a certain extent. It is good that I got runs,” Dhoni was very candid in his admission.

“We (in the team management) discussed this. When you are batting down the order, the approach is more result-oriented and you are looking for the big strokes. At the same time, it (his batting at four) gives a chance to other youngsters to bat lower down the order. Batting higher, I can set the pace of the innings and not worry about hitting the big shots (from the start),” he explained.

Dhoni was also very candid to admit that batting at four was more of his need than the team.

“One has to see that I am not playing Tests anymore. Lower down, I play according to what the situation demands. Batting at number four was an ideal position to express myself. It is more of my need than the team’s. There are other guys who can play at 4 too but we need to think about grooming batsmen to bat five, six and seven.”

“With the top order being in brilliant form, the likes of Virat, Rohit (Sharma), Shikhar (Dhawan), I was not getting to bat for a lot of overs. I have not got enough chances to bat in the last one and a half years. Since there are few ODIs this season, I only get to play one day matches in domestic cricket,” he said.