Dhoni hopes to keep batting up the order

India

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni will look to keep batting at number four after promoting himself up the order in the ODIs against New Zealand.

Dhoni scored 80 in the third ODI batting at four, and feels he has earned the right to play where he wants to, as he’s never had the freedom to play his shots when coming in at six.

While Virat Kohli’s century stole the show in the seven-wicket win to take the series lead, Dhoni’s knock was entertaining, as he felt he had the time to play more expansively.

Dhoni said: “We were having a conversation in the team management about the things we want to do. One of the things was for me to play free cricket.

“The first thing that helps [when batting at 4] is you are only two down. It was important for me to start with a positive intent.

“I could have got out, but that is the risk you can afford to take if you are batting at No 4.

“It was something that I wanted to do for a long time, but if you are batting at No.5 or No.6, and especially when your top order is batting brilliantly, you don’t get to chance to bat how you want to bat.

“Often, you will get in with the last 10 or 12 overs trying to slog and trying to get as many runs as possible, or the other way round where in the 20th over maybe where you have lost five wickets and you go in to bat looking for a partnership.

“If it keeps happening for a long time, you don’t fluently rotate the strike. When you know there is just one batsman after you, you have to be close to 90 percent sure all the time when you are setting out and looking for a big hit.

“At that slot it becomes very result-oriented. That has actually hampered my batting to a great extent. Going at No.4, it was important to go and play the big shots.

“It was the first innings I played and I got runs, but it’s not easy to come out of it so I could have taken a few more innings. So, it’s good I got runs.

“Personally for me also, I am not looking too much into what needs to be done. I can play the shots over the fielder and I feel that was what was needed in my batting.

“Today was the first day and I am hoping to continue with this.”

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