Good for India if MS Dhoni bats at no 6: Rahul Dravid
Dhoni batted at number six in the just-concluded first Test against Australia and went on to score a game-changing knock of 224 in the first innings.
It was after two years that Dhoni played at number six as the last time Indian skipper played at this position was in February 2010 against South Africa in Nagpur.
In his 116 Test innings so far, Dhoni has played at number six or above only 17 times, mostly featuring at number seven.
Dravid said Dhoni's decision to bat a little up the order was right and he should stick with it.
"He has moved up the order a little bit which has given him a chance to play such an innings, batting at number seven is difficult. At six, he will have an established batsman before him and an all-rounder after him," Dravid said.
"From India's point of view, they will want him to replicate this abroad and if he can actually bat at number six abroad, it will make India a different side, it will change the complexion of Indian team, the balance of the team will be different," Dravid told ESPN Cricinfo.
"No one is expecting a 200 from him everytime he plays abroad but a level of consistency abroad will change the complexion of the Indian side," he added.
India's next foreign assignment is against South Africa and Dravid wants Dhoni to bat at number six there.
"I will want him to be at no 6 and I would like him to make a fist of it at no 6 in abroad as well.... It could allow you to play an all-rounder or someone like (Ravindra) Jadeja at 7 and three fast bowler. Of course Jadeja has to up his own batting. It will give a balance and option to the team. Whether they would have the courage to do it abroad, remains to be seem," said the 40-year-old cricketer. Asked if the double-century will give Dhoni a little breathing space after facing the flak as a captain for quite sometime, Dravid said, "I don't think a lot of these stuff bothers him. That's why he survived and had a lot of success."
"This innings was important for him from his own point of view. If you keep losing and doing that day in and day out you can become weary of the job. You need some enjoyment, some reinforcement. There is nothing like scoring runs and winning as a captain, you need that reinforcement and this innings will be an reinforcement," he said.
Dravid, who now captains Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, was also impressed with R Aswin, who scalped 12 wickets in the series-opener against Australia.
"Ashwin had a sort of setback but he has spent a lot of time with his coach. I don't judge the youngsters by their setbacks. He has worked on his game and bowled a lot fuller during the Test, he bowled a lot slower. It is nice to see that he has bounced back from setback and it is a good sign going ahead," he said.
Asked if Dhoni has become more expressive as a captain, looking at the way he showed his emotions during the first Test, Dravid said, "I don't think he has changed too much."
"He is a good captain, ofcourse there are areas which he needs to work on and keep getting better. But the team is changing, so he has to connect with the youngsters on a one-to-one basis a lot more and pass on his experience.
"When he first become captain, there was this famous quote that Dhoni was India's first grown up captain because he didn't show his emotions on field. People are different and I think he is passionate and he wants to win. But I don't think he is someone who will express himself too much. I don't think his inherent nature will change. I like the fact that he has
done some forward thinking, discussions off the field with the
bowlers," he added.