After having a great group league stage in the ICC World Cup 2019, India had seen the worst exit from the tournament in the semi-final where they lost to New Zealand by 18 runs. India’s defeat raised many questions from not only fans but also cricket experts as they have changed their batting order where former India captain MS Dhoni came to bat number 7.
India were struggling in their 240-run chase against the Kiwis but the team management sent Dinesh Karthik and Hardik Pandya ahead of Dhoni. However, former cricketers Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman commented that this was a “tactical blunder” by dropping MS Dhoni to number seven against New Zealand in the first semi-final; which eventually made the things more troublesome for India.
“Dhoni should have come ahead of Pandya. It was a tactical blunder. Dhoni should have walked ahead of Dinesh Karthik. Stage was set for Dhoni. In 2015 final also, he promoted himself up to bat at number four ahead of Yuvraj Singh and won the World Cup,” said VVS Laxman.
Former captain Sourav Ganguly said that it’s not just about only Dhoni’s batting but also his calming effect helps batsman at the other end. However, captain Virat Kohli was seen having a chat with the head coach Ravi Shastri immediately after Rishabh Pant’s dismissal who tried his best to steady the ship.
“India needed experience at that stage. If Dhoni was there when Pant was batting, he would not have allowed Pant to play that shot against the breeze. In England, it’s a big factor. He would have told him to go after pacer, when mid-off and mid-on is up, because he is good at that,” he told.
“Dhoni should have batted up. You need that composure and not just his batting. He would not have allowed wickets to fall in cluster. Dhoni was there when Jadeja batted. Communication is strength. You can’t have Dhoni at number seven,” Ganguly shared the official broadcaster Star Sports.
“As a finisher, he still has tremendous respect. He can still clear the field and that’s why he left it for last. It’s not that he can’t hit sixes but he thinks that’s the way to win ODI matches,” he further added.
Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar also felt that Dhoni should come up the order.
“The question here can be, in a crunch moment like this, would you not think of promoting Dhoni with experience on his back? Towards the end he kept talking to (Ravindra) Jadeja and he was controlling things. Maybe instead of Hardik, Dhoni should have come up. Batting Dinesh Karthik at number 5 was slightly out of the box I felt,” he added.
Ganguly further said that the biggest mistake was Indian selectors failed to find a solid middle order in the last one and a half years.
“The one criticism (for selectors) is that they fiddled around the middle order. You can’t always depend on Rohit and Virat,” said Laxman.
“What India need to do is to push Rishabh Pant to number five. Kohli can bat at number four, if KL Rahul is solution at number three when Shikhar Dhawan comes back. India will have to identify the middle order batsmen and persist with them,” Sourav Ganguly said. “That’s the only mistake selectors made. You can’t depend on Jadeja (to win matches by leaving it for lower order).”