We were wasting Rohit's talent by making him bat at 6: Dhoni
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said promoting Rohit Sharma to open the innings had been the making of the batsman after his latest hundred helped the defending champions sail into the semifinals of the World Cup.
The 27-year-old's superbly constructed 137 laid the platform for India's 109-run quarter-final win over Bangladesh at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Thursday.
It was just the right-hander's seventh hundred in 128 one-day international innings but his haul has seen Rohit become the only batsman in history to make two ODI double hundreds -- including a world record 264 against Sri Lanka in Kolkata in November.
Dhoni said it had to be remembered that Rohit, who made his debut in 2007, had batted in the middle-order for much of his international career.
"If I have to go back four years, it won't be a realistic comparison, the reason being he was not really opening for us at that time.
"We felt it was a bit of a waste of his talent if he was batting at six for us because, more often than not, he was not getting enough chances to bat, and our top order was quite fixed.
"That's one of the reasons why if you see the first 40 games, you may think he has not done enough," said wicket-keeper/batsman Dhoni.
"But out of those 40, there were quite a few times when he went in to bat in the last four overs or five overs.
"It's difficult, in a five-match series if you're playing and your top order is batting really well in India, at times you don't really get a chance to bat.
"You may get a chance in the last maybe couple of matches with 10 overs to go, and it all counts as chances," added Dhoni, whose supreme skills as an ODI batting 'finisher' saw him guide India to victory over Sri Lanka in the 2007 World Cup final in Mumbai.
"That was the time we decided we'll try to make him an opener, and he accepted that.
"He did open for us in the T20 World Cup (where India lost in the final to Sri Lanka in Bangladesh last year).
"From that point, we thought it will be good to have him as an opener because he cuts and pulls well, and he's a natural stroke-player.
"It helps if you have somebody in the top order, once he gets going, he can play an innings."