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This is Kapil Dev’s advice to veteran MS Dhoni ahead of ICC Champions Trophy

MS Dhoni has had a great Indian Premier League (IPL) season with Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS), taking a bit of time before launching his explosive strokes. Kapil Dev feels coming in at No 4 at the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 will help the former India cricket team skipper settle down and build match-winning knocks

ipl 2017 Updated: May 18, 2017 09:05 IST
Sarthak Bal
Sarthak Bal
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
IPL 2017,Champions Trophy 2017,MS Dhoni
Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) has enjoyed some vintage knocks from MS Dhoni this Indian Premier League (IPL) season, including the unbeaten 26-ball 40 against Mumbai Indians in the 1st qualifier on Tuesday, which earned the team a place in the final. (AFP)

As soon as Virat Kohli took over as India’s limited-overs captain, MS Dhoni was promptly promoted to No. 5 in the batting order.

Read | IPL 2017: Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Kolkata Knight Riders eliminator live updates, score

It was done with an aim to ensure the ex-India skipper gets back to playing his natural game. The decision helped Dhoni hit vintage form in Cuttack in the second ODI against England where he blasted 122-ball 134.

In the ongoing Indian Premier League, it has often been witnessed that Dhoni has taken considerable time in the beginning before launching his lethal blows.

The most recent example being Dhoni’s 26-ball 40 knock for Rising Pune Supergiant in Qualifier I at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday. Just before the late burst, the former skipper had consumed 17 balls for his 14 runs.

His performance and calculative approach has impressed legendary all-rounder Kapil Dev, who feels Dhoni should bat at No 4 position in the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy.

“Dhoni may not be the Dhoni of eight years back, but he is still the most experienced player in the Indian side, and how they use him will be critical. Virat Kohli should be very happy to have him in the side.

“I think he needs to play a few balls before settling down. If he can bat up in the order, at No 4 maybe, it will give him time to settle. At the end of the innings he is absolutely lethal against any bowling,” Kapil told Hindustan Times.

Dhoni hammered five sixes, four of which came against Mumbai Indians’ death-overs specialists Jasprit Bumrah and Mitchell McClenaghan. “It was important for them to know that he is still the ‘king of the ground’,” said Kapil, highlighting the relevance of Dhoni’s heroics on Tuesday.

If Dhoni is promoted to No 4, then Yuvraj Singh will have to drop a place down.

India will begin the defence of their Champions Trophy title with a high-pressure clash against Pakistan on June 4. India have a better head-to-head record against Pakistan in ICC tournaments over the past decade. They have got the better of their opponents 11 times in ODIs and T20 format. Pakistan though has a slight edge in the ICC Champions Trophy with two wins and one loss against India.

“In the 80s, they had a better side without a doubt. But in the last 15-20 years we have fielded a comparatively better team than Pakistan,” said Kapil.

“But Pakistan have nothing to lose. I feel like when you (Pakistan) are the underdog, you are a much bigger threat to the opposition,” he added.

First Published: May 17, 2017 20:49 IST