Dhoni urges batsmen to put up long partnerships

Perth, Jan 29 (IANS) Ahead of the virtual semi-final clash against England in the ODI tri-series here Friday, Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni Thursday urged his batsmen to put up long partnerships and hoped that the team will fix the problem before the World Cup.

Throughout the One-Day International (ODI) tri-series, the 34-year-old Dhoni has rued his batting line-up’s inability to string together long partnerships, which has left them without a win so far.
“It is important to put runs on the board and defend them, and we haven’t been able to do that (in this series),” Dhoni was quoted as saying by bcci.tv.
“We have had partnerships going but we haven’t been able to capitalise on them. Wickets in hand going into the death overs is something we like to have and it’s part of our strategy. We’d like to do that going further.”
While the Indian captain acknowledged that the top-order hasn’t contributed with many runs, he also put the onus on the middle-order to get the team back on track in case of a jittery start.
“The openers are not a big concern. More than the top order, in middle order we have lost quick wickets and that hampers the team’s plans,” he said.
“You don’t want wickets to fall in pairs if openers don’t fire. We’ll have to see to that.”
A few questions have been raised about India’s batting order where Virat Kohli has been coming one step below his regular No.3 spot, relinquishing it to Ambati Rayudu.
Dhoni, once again explaining the ploy, said that with the inexperienced Axar Patel coming in at No.8, the team needs more solidity in the middle-order in the form of Kohli.
“If I am batting at six and I am worried before going for a big shot whether the following batsman will be able to capitalise in the last eight overs, it is not a good place to be in. If Virat gets a partnership going, I am there, Raina is there and we can manoeuvre the strike and capitalise,” Dhoni explained.
“It is also important to look at the XI you’re playing and decide which batsman batting where will benefit the team most. So a batsman who loves to bat at a certain position will have to sacrifice,” the captain said.
“By the start of the World Cup, we’ll have a better picture of who bats where.”
Dhoni also said that it is important to remain flexible with the batting order depending on the situation of the game.
He said that in ODIs it’s not the batting position but the number of overs a batsman has at his disposal that is more crucial.
“More than the batting number, the number of overs is important. If the openers play till the 38th over, you’d like your No.7 batsman to walk in rather than the No.3,” he explained.