Sachin Tendulkar believes India should space out their experienced batsmen at the World Cup with MS Dhoni coming in at No. 5. As per the expected order of batting, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma open the innings with Virat Kohli next up. It is believed Vijay Shankar, a World Cup debutant, could come in thereafter before MS Dhoni at No. 5.
Dhoni, a veteran of the sport and likely to be playing his final World Cup, would then get time to settle himself before going all guns blazing in the death overs of the inning. Tendulkar believes Dhoni, who has played 341 ODIs, will be vital to India’s run at the tournament that gets underway on May 30.
“My personal opinion is Dhoni should be batting (at) five,” Tendulkar, part of the Dhoni-led squad who won the 2011 World Cup on home soil, told ESPNcricinfo.
“I still don’t know what the team combination would be, but if you are going Rohit and Shikhar as openers, to Virat at No. 3 and whoever at No. 4 then Dhoni could be No. 5. Then Hardik Pandya, an explosive player, follows them.”
“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.”
“From No 5-8 you are looking at finishers, who stay till the end and soak in that pressure. I feel we are well equipped to do that.”
Dhawan is the only left-hander in India’s batting line and Tendulkar said the opener must bat deep to keep the bowlers busy.
“A left-right combination always helps because that means the bowler has to adjust his line every now and then and the (bowling) captain has also to keep thinking,” said Tendulkar.
“And if there is a partnership the job becomes even more tougher. So, yes, it is important for a left-hander to be there to put pressure on the legspinner or for that matter any bowler.”
The World Cup is believed to be a high scoring affair with Pakistan’s series against England an indication.
“I believe if you have quality spinners to bowl in the middle overs they would end up picking wickets.”
“It is all about bowling in partnerships – if quality bowlers could bowl in tandem and create pressure on the batting line-up, that is one way of countering all these factors (that) I feel are not in favour of the bowlers.”