Our batting order is now 1,2,3,5,6... letís omit No.4: MS Dhoni

MS DhoniM S Dhoni during a press conference on upcoming South Africa tour in Mumbai on Sunday. PTI Photo

Be it the inexperienced batsmen, the prospect of playing in the most difficult conditions they have encountered recently, filling the void left by the retirement of Sachin Tendulkar or India's dismal form away from home ó nothing seems to rattle Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

True to his image, the India captain personified calmness as he addressed the media before the squad departed for the short, yet significant, tour of South Africa on Sunday night. India are scheduled to play three ODIs, starting December 5 in Johannesburg, and two Tests during their month-long trip.

As India prepare to get used to life after Tendulkar, Dhoni jokingly said he wished the No. 4 position be omitted from the squad, insisting he was still unsure about who would walk out to bat at that position.

"If possible, we will omit the No. 4 position. Our batting order will be like one, two, three, five, six, seven and then we'll play till 12," he laughed, before quickly adding: "Whoever bats in that slot, we should not pressurise that individual by saying he is replacing Sachin Tendulkar. There is no replacing anyone. As of now, we haven't decided who will bat at No. 4."

Dhoni said they were looking forward to a 'new' start in the post-Tendulkar era. There have been suggestions that, based on their recent form, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma are the most likely candidates to come in at two-down. Sharma has had a dream start to his Test career after he, coming in at No. 6, scored back-to-back centuries against the West Indies.

This might be one of the most inexperienced Indian teams for an overseas tour: Shikhar Dhawan, Sharma, Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammad Shami have not played a Test in South Africa. With no seniors to guide them, Dhoni said the team was looking forward to a 'new start' in the post-Tendulkar era. He allayed fears of failure, saying even 'Tendulkar, at some point, played his first Test.'

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