M.S. Dhoni: ‘Me batting down the order was like quicksand’

On the wrong side of the 30s, Dhoni said that he needed to focus on his fitness to bat up the order in the IPL to give himself more time to win matches.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni said that he wanted to make a team which bats deep.   -  Vivek Bendre

Inspirational skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who guided Chennai Super Kings to its third IPL title triumph in 2018, on Monday said that he was determined to bat up the order as coming in the lower half was akin to being in quicksand for him.

On the wrong side of the 30s, Dhoni said that he needed to focus on his fitness to bat up the order in the IPL to give himself more time to win matches.

“Fitness part started a few years back, when I left Test cricket, when it comes to this IPL (consciousness about fitness) started the day we sat to make our team. I was sure in my mind that I wanted to bat up the order, because with age, me batting down the order was like quicksand,” he said on the sidelines of Star Reimagine Awards.

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“I wanted to make it sure that I wanted to take the responsibility of winning the game, but I was coming so down the order that I was not giving time to myself.”

The former India skipper said that he wanted to make a team which bats deep. “So, it was more like quicksand, the more I flutter, the deeper I would go. So, I said that I want to make a team where we bat deep, that gives me a chance to bat up the order, and to me up the order doesn’t mean I want to bat at three, four or five, it’s the number of overs,” he said.

“Yes, when (Ambati) started to bat at four, I have to give him that berth because he was almost the leading scorer for us. So, if he has to come down and bat for the requirement of the team, then he needs to bat at number four because he was ideally suited for that position.”

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Dhoni said that batting in the middle order gave him the chance to be more aggressive. “So, I said that I want to bat up, so when I go into bat, I would like to bat aggressive, so that even if I get out, it gives others a chance to reinvent themselves about finishing the game, what they need to do, if they are under pressure and all of that,” he said.

“Fortunately, we did not use our batting order to the full extent in the whole of IPL because Watson, Rayadu, Raina, me, Bravo, we all kept scoring runs and that really helped us.”

“But, my planning, right from the start, was sure to make a team, which bats deep, everybody should be able to bat, and that gives me an opportunity to go out there and express myself.”