India vice-captain Rohit Sharma, who notched up his 22nd hundred in the first ODI against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground, believes that the veteran wicketkeeper batsman MS Dhoni is ideal for the crucial No. 4 slot.
Chasing 289 to win, India were reeling at 4 for 3 before Rohit and Dhoni put on a 141-run partnership to bring the visitors back in the contest. While Sharma scored 133 off 129 balls (10 fours and 6 sixes), Dhoni made 51. But India, in the end, fell 34 runs short of the target.
“Personally, I always feel him batting at No. 4 will be ideal for the team,” Rohit told reporters after end of the first ODI. “Rayudu has done really well now at No. 4, so it totally depends what the captain and coach thinks about it. Personally asking, yes, I would be happy if he (Dhoni) bats at No. 4.”
“If you look at his (Dhoni’s) overall batting, his strike rate is around 90. Today was a different scenario, when he came out to bat we had already lost three wickets and Australia were bowling pretty well. You just cannot go out and get 100-run partnership easily. So we took a little bit of time and even I did not score as quickly as I normally do.”
Talking about the partnership he shared with Dhoni to bail India out of trouble, Rohit said: “It is pretty simple with him and he does not complicate things. We spoke about building a partnership because it was crucial at that point. It was great to see him come and bat at number five. We lost three wickets but he is keen to get those runs as well. Over the years, he has shown he is ready to bat anywhere for the team and score runs.”
Earlier, skipper Virat Kohli had earlier expressed his preference for Rayudu to other players for the all-important batting position.
“Hopefully he (Rayudu) has sorted out all the mysteries of No 4 position (and hopefully) till the World Cup there would not be any talk of No 4. We have known Rayudu for a long time. He can produce big innings. That’s probably the reason we got him at No 4 and he has not disappointed so far,” Kohli had said during the West Indies home series last year.
The second ODI takes place at Adelaide on Tuesday (January 15).