MS Dhoni's batting position in Chennai Super Kings' next game, against Delhi Capitals in Dubai on Friday, will be the key focus ahead of the game. And veteran Indian cricketers Gautam Gambhir and Ajit Agarkar feel that the Chennai Super Kings skipper should not bat anywhere below No.5 in the batting lineup.
In the game against Rajasthan Royals earlier this week in Sharjah where CSK were chasing 217, Dhoni sent the likes of Sam Curran, Kedar Jadhav and Ruturaj Gaikwad ahead of him in the batting lineup all off whom were undone quickly by the Royals attack leaving much of the work on Faf du Plessis' shoulders. Dhoni only walked in at No.7 and failed to get off the mark against the express pace of Jofra Archer. However, against medium-pacer Tom Curran, in the last over, Dhoni managed to fire three consecutive sixes. While CSK lost by 16 runs in the chase, Dhoni was criticised by many veteran cricketers for his choice of batting position.
Talking to ESPNCricinfo ahead of the Delhi game, Gambhir opined that with no Suresh Raina in the batting lineup for CSK, Dhoni should bat at No.5.
"Absolutely. No doubt about it. I think he shouldn't bat anywhere below No.5 because with Suresh Raina not being there, he has to bat at No.5," said the former Kolkata Knight Riders captain.
Agreeing with Gambhir, Agarkar added, "If you not in good form, you would want to get as much cricket as possible. It was strange to see him bat as low as he did. If he gets into good form, it will only help CSK."
In the opener against Mumbai Indians, Dhoni had batted low in the lineup, but the work was already donw by the likes of Ambati Rayudu and Faf du Plessis who had stitched a 115-run stand.
When asked about his decision to bat at No.7 against Rajasthan, Dhoni explained, “I haven’t batted for a long time. 14-day quarantine doesn’t help (why he isn’t batting higher). Also wanted to try different things, give opportunities to Sam. Have the opportunity to try different things. If it doesn’t work, you can always go back to your strengths. Faf adapted very well. Something the batsmen will do, neglect square leg and go more towards long-on and long-off."
Dhoni, who scored 29 off 17 balls in the game, opined that the team needed a better start.
“With 217 on the board, we needed a very good start which was not the case. Steve and Samson batted very well. Need to give credit to their bowlers,” Dhoni said. “Once you’ve seen the first innings, you know the length to bowl. Their spinners did well to bowl away from the batsman. Our spinners made the error to bowl too full. If we would’ve maybe restricted them to 200, it would’ve been a good game.”