Team India’s World Cup campaign came to an end as the Kiwis surpassed them in a thriller semi-final at the Old Trafford. Although MS Dhoni failed to finish the game, it was his partnership with Ravindra Jadeja which kept India in the hunt. The tournament came to an end with England’s win over New Zealand in the final and before India’s tour to West Indies, there are major speculations surrounding Dhoni’s future in limited-overs cricket.
Having played 350 ODIs and scored over 10,000 runs, with more than 200 sixes, several match-winning knocks and innumerable magic moments with the glove; Dhoni is without a shred of a doubt one of the greatest to don the blue jersey. He is still the best gloveman in the country and can give youngsters a run for their money in terms of fitness.
The former skipper received flak for his strike rate and his approach in run chases in this World Cup. He is 38 and might not have a lot of cricket in him. Thus it is about time that the team management finds an inheritor for Dhoni.
Here are the three young wicketkeepers who can replace MS Dhoni as a long-term solution:
1. Ishan Kishan
Ishan Kishan. (Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)
A wicketkeeper-batsman hailing from Jharkhand could replace another. Dhoni’s Jharkhand teammate Ishan Kishan has been on the rise in the last one year or so. Kishan led India to the Under-19 World Cup final in 2016. The following year he was the leading run-scorer for Jharkhand having accumulated 799 runs including a mammoth 273 versus Delhi. The 20-year-old is flexible with his batting position – he averages 31 as an opener and 24 at number four in his four-year IPL career.
He started his IPL career at the age of 17 with Gujarat Lions in 2016 and was then bought by Mumbai Indians in 2018. Kishan scored at a strike rate of 149 in his debut season for Mumbai Indians. He has also been a part of India A squad recently; consistent and impressive performances could get the left-hander a shot at the national team as well.
Kishan has played 53 List A matches in his career and has 1780 runs – in 40 first-class matches, the left-hander has added 2538 runs to his name along with 1628 runs in 70 T20s.
2. Sanju Samson
Sanju Samson. (Photo Source: Twitter)
A technically sound batsman, Sanju made his first-class debut against Vidarbha at the age of 17! He was touted to be Dhoni’s successor for a long time but his inconsistent run of form in domestic and IPL meant that Pant outstripped him for that spot. Sanju Samson averages 36 in first-class cricket which doesn’t do any justice to his talent.
Though his average gets better every year in the IPL, he still hasn’t become the match winner he was expected to be. Samson started the 2019 IPL with a hundred against SRH, an innings full of class and sheer brilliance. But couldn’t manage a single half-century after that; thus ended another of his average seasons.
Samson is still pretty young and vastly talented, but only runs with the bat and assuring performances behind the stumps will help him claim a stake for the position in the national team.
3. Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. (Photo by Christopher Lee-IDI/IDI via Getty Images)
The attitude of Virender Sehwag and the finesse of Yuvraj Singh; Rishabh Pant is known as a clean striker and a basher of the cricket ball. He is audacious and is not afraid of taking risks. His hard-hitting prowess was evident from U19 days when he smashed Nepal bowlers for a 24-ball 75 and followed it up with a century against Namibia. In IPL he has scored runs at an average of 36 and a strike rate of 162 which has helped his cause for a call-up as a replacement in the World Cup squad as well.
Pant has two Test hundreds to his name, both overseas but is yet to cement his spot in the ODI side. The 21-year-old has been criticized for playing false shots and throwing his wicket away. Just as Pant was grinding against New Zealand in the semi-final, he played a ‘reckless’ shot and the debate for his big moment temperament sparkled once again. But that’s the brand of cricket Rishabh Pant is all about.
Although Pant is the definite choice as a successor to Dhoni, with Kishan and Samson around the corner, the 21-year-old has to prove himself as a consistent performer at the highest level.
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