After almost a decade, Team India will see a new skipper calling the shots in limited-overs cricket. MS Dhoni’s decision to step down as limited-overs skipper has given Virat Kohli full charge of Team India across all formats.
Kohli was quoted as saying that “Dhoni will always remain his captain”. Dhoni will play as a keeper-batsman under Kohli. But will Dhoni get his preferred No 4 spot in limited-overs cricket that he has recently played at?
Dhoni said the decision to promote himself up the order was much to do with his diminishing ability to rotate the strike and inability to finish off games in recent times. So, Dhoni prefers a No 4 spot where he gets the opportunity to take his time to settle down and control the game.
But Kohli, who in his Test captaincy, has indicated he prefers a flexible approach where every batsman is ready to face any challenges of batting at any spots in the line-up. In a Test match during his captaincy, he himself batted at No 3 to accommodate an additional batsman in Rohit Sharma.
The return of Yuvraj Singh may prompt Kohli to go with Dhoni at No 4 with the southpaw batting lower down the order to do the job of finishing the innings. Besides, Kohli at 3 and Dhoni at 4 will give the captain to control the game in the company of a player (MSD) who plays as aggressively as him with running behind the wickets being top-notch. Dhoni and Kohli have stitched many a memorable partnerships together in international cricket and share great rapport both on and off the field. So, Kohli would be keen to hand his ex-captain his preferred spot where Dhoni can express himself freely.
In addition to that, Dhoni at No 4 gives the team management a chance to groom a suitable finisher in the company of Yuvraj Singh. Some names that are floated currently for the role of finisher include Kedar Jadhav, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya among others. All three are ‘work in progress’ and need more exposure to don the role of a finisher. Hence, the presence of Dhoni and Yuvraj is crucial to find the next finisher for India who can match up to MSD if not surpass him and achieve laurels for the country.