It’s been almost 15 years since MS Dhoni made his international debut. He made an impact pretty early in his career and sealed the wicketkeeper-batsman’s slot. He became a constant in all formats of the game. Dhoni has played a critical role in the Indian middle-order for more than a decade. He donned multiple hats and was very flexible with his batting position. The former Indian skipper was the finisher and has led India to multiple victories.
However, over the last few years, his powers have been on the wane. The Ranchi-born cricketer hasn’t been able to produce the same consistency and has struggled on quite a few occasions. Dhoni’s glovework is still brilliant. However, it’s his ability to close out games or force the pace that has become a problem. There are a lot of youngsters lurking around. Thus, here are five players who might benefit from MS Dhoni’s retirement.
Five Players who might benefit from MS Dhoni’s retirement:
Rishabh Pant. (Photo by Christopher Lee-IDI/IDI via Getty Images)
There’s been a lot of buzz around Rishabh Pant for a while now. It was only a year ago that he made his Test debut and with wonderful centuries in England and Australia, the Delhi stumper has made the wicket-keeper’s spot his own in the Test format. Moreover, his glovework is also improving.
However, Pant hasn’t had a lot of opportunities in white-ball cricket. He made his T20I debut in January 2017 and in the last 30 months, he’s constantly been in and out of the side. The 21-year-old left-hander was India’s preferred No. 4 towards the end of the World Cup earlier this year. He has continued to bat at that spot.
MS Dhoni’s retirement will mean Pant will get a lot more chances in limited-overs cricket where he is yet to prove his worth. He has constantly blown hot and cold. Hence, regular opportunities might help him be a lot more consistent. Also, Pant can bat anywhere in the batting line-up which is a big plus.
Ishan Kishan. (Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)
Ishan Kishan is another batsman who can float around anywhere in the batting order. He is another left-hander that has thrown his hat in the ring for the wicket-keeper’s slot once it is vacant. The Jharkhand cricketer was the captain of the Indian side in 2016 Under 19 World Cup.
He didn’t have a great tournament but has evolved into a better player since then. He has been a consistent run-getter for Jharkhand in domestic cricket. Moreover, he has shown some flashes of brilliance in the IPL as well. Kishan has played some whirlwind knocks but hasn’t really been consistent.
However, the 21-year-old has been a regular member of the India ‘A’ team in the recent past. He has done well but has failed to convert starts. With the gloves, Kishan has been good. Hence, he will be looking to make the most of every opportunity he gets and stake a claim for a spot in the Indian side.
Sanju Samson. (Photo Source: Instagram)
Sanju Samson is one of the many Indian cricketers who first made a name through Under 19 cricket. The Kerala wicket-keeper batsman made his first-class debut at the age of 17 which was long before he had played the Under 19 World Cup. Hence, it’s been almost eight years since Samson arrived on the scene.
He played Junior mega event in 2014 as well and impressed many. Since then, he has been a regular member of the IPL. However, consistency is one area that has eluded Samson. The Trivandrum-born right-hander has blown hot and cold in the domestic arena and also, in the IPL.
However, he has a solid technique and has shown that he has the potential to make it big. Samson has been around the scene for a while but has never made his opportunities count. However, with MS Dhoni’s retirement looming, he could be in with a chance.
Dinesh Karthik celebrates with MS Dhoni. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)
For almost 15 years, Dinesh Karthik has been behind MS Dhoni in the pecking order. The Tamil Nadu stumper made his international debut before the veteran. However, he never got enough chances as Dhoni overtook him and sealed his spot.
Karthik has always been in and around the Indian team, especially in white-ball cricket. He has played 132 international games but those have spanned over 15 years. In the last couple of years, Karthik has really enhanced himself as a very good T20 batsman. He has done well in the IPL and also, for India.
However, with Dhoni around chances have been limited. Thus, the former Indian skipper’s retirement may help Karthik get a spot in at least the T20 side and don the finisher’s role. He may be 34 years old but certainly has a few more years of cricket left in him.
Hardik Pandya. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)
This might be a surprising name in this list but Hardik Pandya may have a few benefits from MS Dhoni’s retirement. Pandya has often been used as a floater in the Indian side. However, he is slated to bat at No. 7 and is deemed as a finisher.
Dhoni has often batted above him, barring an odd game here and there. Thus, Dhoni’s retirement may help Pandya move up the order and get more chances with the bat. That will also help India have more options with the ball.
The 25-year-old seam-bowling all-rounder is one of the cleanest strikers of the ball in the Indian team at the moment. However, he has shown that he can adapt to different situations and play accordingly. Thus, there is no doubt that Pandya will play a crucial role in the Indian side in all three formats. But it is to be seen whether his role with the bat changes once Dhoni hangs up his boots.
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