MANCHESTER, June 26: Mahendra Singh Dhoni�s batting approach and position in the middle order will be the team management�s primary concern when India take on an ousted-yet-dangerous West Indies in the sixth league phase encounter of the World Cup here on Thursday.
As the league phase hits the home stretch, India will look to ensure a smooth passage into the semifinals with yet another victory.
But it could be easier said than done against a West Indies side, which might play party poopers with nothing to lose in their remaining few games.
In fact, West Indies� unpredictability and the former India captain�s repeated failure during the important second Powerplay overs leaves skipper Virat Kohli with a few points to ponder.
Dhoni�s painfully slow approach against the Afghanistan yielded 28 off 52 balls and he was roundly criticised. Even the normally restrained Sachin Tendulkar questioned the approach.
�There was no positive intent,� the usually reticent Tendulkar�s observation on a TV channel has been spot on.
The Indian team management knows that too well but with four group matches left, the only option they have right now is to alter Dhoni�s batting position, possibly giving a few more deliveries to Jadhav, who can be innovative in his shot selection.
Hardik Pandya is being used as a floater but the Afghanistan match showed that if he doesn�t get support from the other end, there is too much pressure on him to hit every delivery for a six.
Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri till now have not been too keen to use Rishabh Pant�s firepower. Pant can come in only if the team management considers the idea of Vijay Shankar being disposable.
The West Indies is a team loaded with fast bowlers so it could be a bit easier for Dhoni to rotate strike as he hasn�t been comfortable against the slow bowlers. Afghanistan exposed it thoroughly during the last game.
There have been arguments and counter-arguments about Dhoni�s batting approach in the IPL compared to his style when playing 50-over cricket for India.
Dhoni, during Chennai Super Kings various chases, would invariably target one of the inexperienced Indian domestic bowlers while playing safe cricket against the bigger international names.
Against a Kagiso Rabada or a Jofra Archer, he didn�t take any risks before hitting the others in successful run-chases. A strategy needs to be worked around Dhoni�s skill sets here too to place him at a position on which he can bat freely.
With his inputs and electric glovework behind the stumps an absolute necessity, this will require some tactical brainstorming by the captain and the coach. � PTI
Match Starts: 3pm