India batting coach Sanjay Bangar has revealed that it wasn’t his decision alone to send wicketkeeper-batsman MS Dhoni to bat at number seven during the World Cup semifinal against New Zealand which India lost on July 9.
In the first semifinal which was played over two days due to rain in Manchester, India restricted the Black Caps to 239/8 in 50 overs. But while chasing 240 for a place in the final, India were blown away by the Kiwi bowlers led by Matt Henry (3/37) on the reserve day.
India lost their top four batsmen for just 24 runs inside 10 overs before Ravindra Jadeja (77) and Dhoni (50) shared a 116-run seventh wicket stand to raise hopes of an unlikely victory.
However, it wasn’t enough in the end as India fell short by 18 runs and bowed out of the competition.
Dhoni came into bat after Dinesh Karthik at No. 5 and Hardik Pandya at No. 6, raising quite a few eyebrows.
“I am really flattered that people are looking at me from this angle because I am not the sole decision-making authority. Believe me, we assess and go through a lot of situations,” Bangar told Hindustan Times.
“We had also decided that we would have to be flexible in the middle order as far as No. 5, 6 and 7 were concerned because we were looking to maximise the 30-40 over slab,” he said.
“And, the individuals were well aware of it. Virat (Kohli) also stated in his press conference after the semifinals that after the Afghanistan game, it was decided that Dhoni could bat a little lower down (till that point he had batted at No 5), so that he could play post the 35th over as he could accelerate in the death overs and also take care of the lower order with his experience. So, he was slated to bat at No 6 in the semis.
“Dinesh Karthik was promoted to No 5 after consultations in the changing room to stem the fall of wickets and resurrect the innings and leave Dhoni, our most experienced player, to do the finisher’s job.
“Ravi Shastri has categorically stated that it was a team decision. So, I fail to understand why this perception that the decision to send Dhoni at No. 7 was solely mine,” he added.