MS Dhoni believes India will miss the presence of Suresh Raina in the ODI series against Australia Down Under. At the same time, Dhoni hinted at handing Raina's role to one of the newcomers Gurkeerat Singh Mann and Manish Pandey.
Dhoni is one of the greatest finishers of the game, as he loves to take the chase right to the end. He has won matches for Team India time and again in the past. But of late the India skipper has lost his finishing touch. There has been talk about Dhoni batting up the order, with the finisher role passed onto someone younger.
Raina is an obvious candidate for that role, but the left-hander has not been picked in the ODI squad for the series against the world champions Down Under. As a result, Dhoni is likely to go with Gurkeerat or Pandey for that crucial role and push himself up the batting order.
"One of the youngsters - Gurkeerat or Manish Pandey - will get to play at either Nos 5, 6 or 7," Dhoni told reporters at a press conference on the eve of Team India's departure for the tour of Australia. "We have four very good top order batsmen [Shikhar, Rohit, Kohli and Rahane].
"No. 6 or 7 is the most difficult spot for any batter. In the past we have tried many people but very few have succeeded in that position. That's why Suresh Raina was good. Depending on how well they play, we will evaluate. I feel No. 5 is good slot for a newcomer."
India did not win a single match in the triangular series in Australia in 2014. They then went on to lose the ODI series against Bangladesh as well. Recently, India also lost the ODI and the T20 series against South Africa, and that too at home.
Those losses led to questions about Dhoni's place in the team, with his retirement from the international game becoming a hot topic. The captain stated he is not thinking about retiring from the game at the moment, and is focusing on the series against Australia as well as the ICC World T20 2016.
"I am a person who lives in the present and the focus right now is the Australian tour leading up to the World T20 Championships. I will think about it [retirement] at the right time," Dhoni added.