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No.6 is best place for Dhoni, says Dravid
‘Dhoni’s not bothered by criticism, That’s why he has survived’

New Delhi: Former India captain Rahul Dravid has suggested that Mahendra Singh Dhoni should consistently bat at No.6 in Tests as it would be helpful for the team while playing overseas.

Dhoni batted at No.6 in the just-concluded first Test against Australia, in Chennai, and went on to score a game-changing knock of 224 in the first innings.

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 No.7 is difficult. At six, he will have an established batsman before him and an all-rounder after him,” Dravid was quoted as saying by a website.

“From India’s point of view, they would want him to replicate this abroad, and if he can actually bat at No.6 overseas, it will make India a different side, it will change the complexion of Indian team, the balance of the team will be different,” Dravid explained.

“No one is expecting a 200 from him every time he plays abroad, but a level of consistency will change the complexion of the Indian side,” he reiterated.

India’s next foreign assignment is against South Africa and Dravid wants Dhoni to bat at No.6 there.

“I will want him to be at No. 6... It could allow you to play an all-rounder or someone like (Ravindra) Jadeja at No. 7 and three fast bowlers. Of course Jadeja has to up his own batting. It will give a balance to the team. But whether they would have the courage to do it abroad, remains to be seem,” said the 40-year-old.

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 Dhoni is bothered by criticism... That’s why he has survived and has 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 was also impressed with Ravichandran Ashwin, 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 the 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… Of course there are areas which he needs to work on and keep getting better, but the team is changing… He has to connect with the youngsters on a one-to-one basis a lot more and pass on his experience.