India Cricket Team’s head coach, Ravi Shastri, revealed the reason behind MS Dhoni batting low down the order in the first semi-final of ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 against New Zealand. He said that it was collective decision as his experience was required in later stages of the game.
“It was a team decision. Everyone was in with it — and it was a simple decision, too. Last thing you wanted was Dhoni coming out to bat early and getting out — that would have killed the chase,” Shastri was quoted as saying by the Indian Express.
The Indian coach also said that it was the best way to utilize Dhoni. “We needed his experience later. He is the greatest finisher of all times — and it would have been criminal to not make use of him in that way. The whole team was clear on it,” Shastri added.
While chasing a seemingly low target of 240 runs, India found themselves struggling within the first few minutes when the scorecard read five for three. The general feeling was that Dhoni’s arrival would steady the innings a little. But it was Dinesh Karthik who walked in ahead of Dhoni. Later, even after Rishabh Pant’s dismissal, it was Hardik Pandya who would walk in leading to further anxiety among the fans. There was also a heated discussion between Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli during the match, which was believed to be about the batting order.
Many experts along with fans were left perplexed on Dhoni’s batting position. It should come as even bigger surprise considering the fact that Dhoni had generally batted at no. 5 previously in the tournament. They also believed that Dhoni batting down the order also contributed a lot in India’s defeat and that is where the captain could have been better tactically. But Shastri revealed that the whole team was behind the decision of keeping Dhoni till the end and it was not a decision of a single person.