Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman stated that the men in blue committed a tectical blunder by demoting MS Dhoni to number seven in the semi final clash against New Zealand, Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik were sent to bat ahead of Dhoni after India were five for three and then 24/4. Eventually, the run chase became too tough to complete, as India succumbed to 18 runs defeat.
"Dhoni should have come ahead of Pandya. It was a tactical blunder. Dhoni should have walked ahead of Dinesh Karthik. Stage was set for Dhoni. In 2011 final also, he promoted himself up to bat at number four ahead of Yuvraj Singh and won the World Cup," said Laxman.
Sourav Ganguly also went on to say that it’s not about Dhoni’s batting but his calming influence on the young batsmen at the other end. Rishabh Pant was batting well but lost his wicket when he attacked spinner Mitchell Santener, India needed experience at that stage. If Dhoni was there when Rishabh Pant was batting, he would hane never allowed Pant to play that shot against the breeze.
"Dhoni should have batted up. You need that composure and not just his batting. He would not have allowed wickets to fall in cluster. Dhoni was there when Jadeja batted. Communication is strength. You can't have Dhoni at number seven," Ganguly told official broadcaster Star Sports.
"As a finisher, he still has tremendous respect. He can still clear the field and that's why he left it for last. It's not that he can't hit sixes but he thinks that's the way to win ODI matches," he added.
Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, too, felt it was a mistake to not send MS Dhoni up the order.
"The question here can be, in a crunch moment like this, would you not think of promoting Dhoni with experience on his back? Towards the end he kept talking to (Ravindra) Jadeja and he was controlling things. "May be instead of Hardik, Dhoni should have come up. Batting Dinesh Karthik at number 5 was slightly out of the box I felt," he said.
the biggest mistake the Indian selector made in the last one and a half year was not finding a solid middle order.
"The one criticism (for selectors) is that they fiddled around the middle order." "You can't always depend on Rohit and Virat," said Laxman.
"What India need to do is to push Rishabh Pant to number five. Kohli can bat at number four, if KL Rahul is solution at number three when Shikhar Dhawan comes back. India will have to identify the middle order batsmen and persist with them." "That's the only mistake selectors made. You can't depend on Jadeja,” said Ganguly