Sachin Tendulkar has given his verdict on the position he would like to see Mahendra Singh Dhoni bat for India at the upcoming World Cup in England and Wales.
Speaking to ESPNCricInfo, Tendulkar suggested that Dhoni would provide the Indian middle order more security coming in at No 5 position rather than the No 4 position that has been a subject of widespread debate leading into the World Cup.
“My personal opinion is Dhoni should be batting five. if you are going [with] Rohit and Shikhar as openers, to Virat [Kohli] 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,” the Indian legend said.
Tendulkar refused to pick a candidate for the debated No 4 spot, saying India had enough quality in their ranks to solve the problem. “From No. 1 to 7 or 8 you expect the batsmen to deliver. I feel up to No. 4 it is a different requirement as far as the delivery is concerned. And from Nos. 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,” he stated.
‘Hardik set for big tournament’
Expected to be a key player in India’s middle-order, Tendulkar backed Pandya to have a big impact in England and Wales. Having hit form in the recently-concluded Indian Premier League, Pandya could be India’s match-winner deep into their batting order.
Speaking on the all-rounder, Tendulkar said, “He hasn’t slogged, to be honest. He has played proper cricketing shots, which is an advantage because that is how one would get more consistent. That is going to work in his favour. Hardik, of course, has gone to England with lots and lots of confidence and positive energy, which will reflect on the field,” he added.
Tendulkar who played in six World Cups during his career, backed India to reach the semi-finals along with England, Australia and one of New Zealand and Pakistan.
England play South Africa in the opening game of the 2019 World Cup May 30 before India make their bow against the Proteas on June 5.