New Delhi: Suresh Raina coming in to bat at No. 4 in the first ODI against Australia surprised many with an in-form Yuvraj Singh padded up in the dressing room, but for skipper MS Dhoni it was all part of a plan.
Dhoni said while Yuvraj is the team's first-choice batsman to go in at No. 4, Raina's promotion is part of a contingency plan for the 2015 World Cup in case Yuvraj isn't around at that time.
"We want Suresh to bat at number four for a considerable period of time. The only reason being, we realized who is the number four batsman. Is it only Yuvraj Singh? If we go into the World Cup with him in good form and without anything happening, then it will be Yuvraj who bats at number four. However, if we don't, then all of a sudden, before the start of the World Cup we realise we don't have a number four batsman and we need some kind of allowance. I think we need Suresh to get some kind of experience [at two-down)," he said.
Raina played a decent knock of 39 off 45 balls in the first ODI; however, like some of the other batsmen, he couldn't kick on to get a big one that led to India's 72-run defeat. A slog off a short-pitch delivery led to his downfall, which has been a perennial problem with Raina, but Dhoni defended his CSK team-mate.
"He has batted at number six for too long and that's why you see at times these instinctive shots which the batsman sees and goes after them. I think it is very important for him to use these opportunities really well. If he does, then we will have two batsmen with a fair amount of exposure batting at number four," Dhoni said.
"Right now, apart from Yuvraj Singh, I don't see any other batsman who has batted more than 50 ODIs at number four. That can be a big concern and it's something that we have to rectify. There is no point in going too late and then saying we don't have time to do that," he said.