Though the current Indian cricket team has performed well in past few years but heading into the 2019 ICC World Cup, there are a few issues that the team management needs to sort out. The biggest of all is the No. 4 conundrum as despite trying various options at the position – Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul, Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey and even Shreyas Iyer – the Men in Blue haven’t found a reliable batsman who can play second down.
Expert cricket commentator and analyst, Harsha Bhogle, suggests the experienced MS Dhoni to be slotted in at the crucial position and give the team the required balance they have been missing. As far as Bhogle is concerned, Dhoni at 4 doesn’t just solve India’s second-down problem but could also sort the former skipper’s form woes.
Bhogle, speaking to Cricbuzz, said that the fact that India can’t find a solution to the No 4 problem despite possessing such incredible talent is baffling.
“India came into this tournament, looking pretty settled, deciding who the number four should be. You’ve tried Yuvraj, Rahane, Manish Pandey and so many others and then India went back towards the end to back Dinesh Karthik and tried KL Rahul. Number 4 is open and I find that staggering in a country with so much talent,” Bhogle said.
Bhogle also discussed the current status of Suresh Raina in the team and if he could be the solution to the No. 4 dilemma, before discussing the batting woes Dhoni is experiencing at No. 6 position.
“Suresh Raina has been around since 2006. He has been a fantastic white-ball cricketer for India but is he still pulling his weight in the side. I love the attitude that Raina brings to a game, but I’m afraid, the answer to that has to be a no. MS Dhoni at six, it’s very difficult to say that about a legend, but he’s not doing it with the bat,” he added.
The second and third ODI against England saw Dhoni score 37 and 42 runs, respectively, but these runs came at strike rates of under 70, which drew extreme criticism from fans and former cricketers. Bhogle believes if Dhoni is made to bat at No. 4, not just India’s batting order problem will be sorted but the position can help Dhoni establish his old self too.
“With Dhoni, there’s a couple of things. Dhoni is also the spin bowler’s captain standing up. He allows Virat Kohli to go back in the deep and can Dhoni find a new role for himself. He can bat at number four, gets the time or does he just go in at six, seven and start to slog around. But India need to find a solution to MS Dhoni. He’s a legend, he’s too big a player. The decision has to be taken around now,” said Bhogle.