MS Dhoni, India cricket

MS Dhoni should be batting higher up the order and captain Virat Kohli should find a new finisher for the team, especially in the T20Is, according to former India skipper Virender Sehwag.

Sehwag warned of a strong comeback from South Africa after their crushing defeat in the ODI series, and said India will be well-served if they fix their persistent middle-order woes.

Kohli's men will take on South Africa in a three-match T20I series starting Sunday, February 18, at the Wanderers in Johannesburg. The Men in Blue will be high on confidence as they had clinched an unprecedented 5-1 win in the ODI series in the "Rainbow Nation".

Despite the series win, there were concerns about a poor show from the middle-order and both the captain and the coach acknowledged the situation after India clinched the sixth and final ODI in Centurion on Friday, February 16.

While Dhoni hit 69 in four innings at a strike rate of 81.18, Hardik Pandya did not trouble the scorers much throughout the series, managing only 26 runs from four innings.

"I believe, there's still a scope of improvement in India's middle-order batting line-up. MS Dhoni should play up the order," Sehwag told India TV on the eve of the first T20I.

"I think, Kohli fears that if Dhoni comes at No 4 and loses his wicket early then there won't be anyone on the finishing spot. But Kohli should send him up the order and hand the finisher's role to Manish Pandey or Hardik Pandya or Kedar Jadhav," he added.

Focus on Dhoni as India eye dominance in T20I series 

Notably, Dhoni was fiercely criticised by former cricketers after the wicketkeeper-batsman struggled to get going from the first ball during the three-match T20I series against New Zealand last year.

Dhoni, who was once known for his finishing abilities, struggled to get going in the second T20I at Rajkot on November 4, which India lost by 40 runs. Captain Kohli, who was steering India's 197-run chase, was dismissed on 65 after he tried to make up for the lack of runs from the other end.

After the defeat, the likes of Ajit Agarkar and Aakash Chopra opined that India should be looking at options beyond Dhoni. On the other hand, VVS Laxman wanted Kohli to back the Ranchi hero at the No 4 spot.

Notably, Dhoni has not batted in a fixed spot in any two successive matches since the start of the three-match T20I rubber against Australia in October 2017.