While the Indian side going into the ICC 2019 Cricket World Cup is largely settled, there is still some doubt regarding the batting order. The top-3 is certain and the strongest part of the line-up but below that, there is some uncertainty about who will bat where. The batting position of Mahendra Singh Dhoni has come in for some debate.
Now, the legendary Sachin Tendulkar has weighed in on the issue and has expressed an interesting opinion. He believes that MSD should be batting at no. 5 in the World Cup set to take place in England.
Talking to ESPNCricinfo, the Master Blaster stated his views. "My personal opinion is Dhoni should be batting five. I still don't know what the team combination would be, but if you are going Rohit and Shikhar as openers, to Virat (Kohli) at number 3 and whoever at number 4 then Dhoni could be no. 5. Then Hardik Pandya, an explosive player, follows them," Tendulkar said.
The great former ODI opener explained his reasons for styling the batting order in this manner. "That way the experienced batsmen are well spaced out and Dhoni can stretch the game towards the end where he himself can be explosive along with Hardik," he explained.
It must be remembered that Dhoni was shifted to the middle order after batting at no. 7 for many years during India's home series against England in early 2017. After some initial success, Mahi went through a difficult phase and questions came to be asked about his future.
While Dhoni's return to form earlier this year put to rest all doubts about his place in the team, the exact spot he will occupy is still under some question. Dhoni can bat anywhere from no. 4 to no. 7 and his eventual position will depend on whether India want him to build an innings or provide a great finish at the end.
World Cup predictions
Tendulkar also revealed his picks for the teams that are likely to reach the semi-finals. "India, England, Australia should be in the semis. The fourth could be one of New Zealand or Pakistan," the man with 49 ODI centuries surmised. The World Cup begins on May 30 and India's first match will be against South Africa on June 5.