Chennai (Agencies): Team India captain has vouched for Virat Kohli over Suresh Raina to bat at number four during the World Cup starting this Saturday.

Dhoni is going through ‘choices of many’ to pick up final playing eleven for India’s opening match against Bangladesh on Saturday, but feels youngster Virat Kohli has an edge over Suresh Raina to bat at number four.

Dhoni also wants hard-hitting batsman Yuvraj Singh to be part of the final eleven.

Stating that Yuvraj did not get a chance to bat on Wednesday since Raina was sent up the order to have left-right combination, Dhoni said, “Major difficulty will come when Yuvraj gets going and scores one or two 50s, that will be the time we will be in a dilemma. Number four slot is very important for us. Right now it is a slot war. It is number four slot where Kohli needs to bat with Gautam Gambhir at number three.”

“To perform to his potential, Virat needs to bat up the order. That is where Raina can score batting down the order as well and he has done very well batting at number five and six. So, it will be a slot war more than for a place in the playing eleven.”

“Kohli is sort of a player who likes to spend little bit of time early and then go after the bowlers. Still, there is a bit of chance where Virat may get an edge over Raina seeing the current form he is in,” he said after India crushed New Zealand by 117 runs in their second and final World Cup game here.
 Talking about value of having Yuvraj in the team, Dhoni said, “What is important is we are playing with four bowlers. A part-time spinner is really important especially if it is left-arm away going spinner. That really adds on to the bowling strength, that’s the one big advantage he has got over others. Once he gets going, it is difficult to stop him (Yuvraj) from scoring runs.”

Asked whether he is worried that Yuvraj has not been scoring big in recent times, Dhoni explained, “On Wednesday, he did not get an opportunity. It would have been nice for him if he had batted. It is important to have runs under your belt. You may be talented but at the end of the day you need those 30 or 40 runs and then you start thinking positively. Then you look to dominate the bowlers.”

“Positive thing about Yuvraj is once he scores, he scores through the series. Being a left-arm bowler, he has been contributing right from South Africa, he has been a big strength to the team. If we play with three seamers and one spinner or two seamers or two spinners, Yuvraj role becomes important.”

“He gives us the odd breakthroughs required in the middle overs. That is a big asset he has got where he edges over the others. If all the batsmen are in good form, I do not mind one batsman out of form. But the amount of talent he has got I will back him fully. We are not playing with seven bowlers,” said Dhoni.
On the decision to send Raina ahead of Yuvraj on Wednesday after he got himself promoted up the order, Dhoni said, “That was the decision taken by Gary (Kristen). I was in the middle (batting). Both of us were padded up. We wanted a left-right combination. Virat got out and that is the reason why I got promoted myself. If Gautam had been out, Yuvraj would have come in.”

“I remember the Peshawar game when I batted at number three or four. Later on, we were not able to capitalise in the slog overs and then I batted consistently for five, six or seven slots. That number you have to change the game and I did for the team. All of a sudden, if I have to change again to play up the order it will be difficult. At the same time, we have got talented players in the side to fill in those slots.”

“I feel batting at number five to seven is a bit difficult as you have to bat according to the demands of the game at that point of time. Especially when you see Virat in a good form, he can play to his potential if he is played up in the order rather than batting at five six or seven.”