15 Mar 2019
Anil Kumble feels MS Dhoni should bat at number four
India are still not sure who is the right candidate to bat at number four in ODIs.
The ODI series defeat against Australia highlighted the issue once again.
Virat Kohli-led India have been experimenting with this position since quite a while.
What's the situation surrounding Rayudu?
Senior cricketer Rayudu hasn't given the assurance to the team that he is their best bet, despite getting numerous opportunities.
Barring a few innings in New Zealand this year, Rayudu has struggled against quality attack.
He was benched for the last two ODIs against Aussies.
Rayudu will get the nod for the ICC World Cup, but his position in the starting XI isn't sure.
Pant wastes chances to stake a claim
In Rayudu's absence, in the final two ODIs, the management tried out KL Rahul in the fourth match in Mohali.
The top order batsman played a quiet 26-run knock. Rahul is more of a back-up opening batsman.
In Delhi, Rishabh Pant was promoted to number four.
And the southpaw (16) didn't deliver in India's run-chase as they fell short by 35 runs.
Dinesh Karthik more of a number 5 or 6
Pant, who was fighting for a berth in India's World Cup squad, wasted his chance and now talks of Dinesh Karthik have returned.
The player was dropped to accommodate Pant in the team.
DK can add solid experience at number five or six as he is more of a finisher.
In this light, Kumble has backed MS Dhoni to be promoted up the order.
Kumble unhappy about too much chopping and changing
India have tried a host of players over time in the middle order and Kumble criticized the approach.
"There was too much chopping, changing and trying to figure out who will fit in into that 4, 5 or 6 in that middle order other than MS Dhoni. That to me has made it a little more unsettling for us, watching from outside," said Kumble.
Why Dhoni should bat at number four?
India's success have largely been due to the top order. And the middle order on most occasions didn't get tested.
Dhoni has been in tremendous form in 2019 and he can be the perfect fit at number four.
This would allow Karthik, Kedar Jadhav and Hardik Pandya to finish the game.
As per this author, Dhoni should bat at four in World Cup.
Dhoni should bat at number four: Kumble
"If you look back at the last couple of years of success that the Indian team has had, it has been mainly due to the fact that the top three have performed. For me, I still believe MS Dhoni should bat at 4," said Kumble.
'Ideally your top four need to have that quality'
"The top four will win you 70-80% of matches and ideally your top four need to have that quality and that's why I'm keen that someone like MS Dhoni bats at four and manages the middle order, that's something I would want to see."