Reports say that MS Dhoni is on the verge of his retirement. But when that day will come, we wouldn’t know what to do. India needs to find his replacement for the upcoming series at home and abroad.
So here are the top 5 players who can fill in MS Dhoni’s shoes –
Rishabh Pant Flamboyant Pant is the first choice as a replacement to MS Dhoni. Pant has batted well in the longer versions. He was replaced because of Saha’s injury. But now Pant has made a firm place in the test side. His centuries in Australia and England have almost sealed his place in the test matches. Pant didn’t get more opportunities to bat in the limited overs and he hasn’t been able to use them well. His performance is not the same as it was in the test matches. His score in the test matches is 696 runs from just 9 matches and 15 innings. But he hasn’t used those chances well. In 8 ODIs he just made 177 runs and in 15 T20Is he has scored only 233 runs. Pant has a habit to play a needless short, which was seen in IPL as well and that’s why he wasn’t preferred in the 15 member squad which went to the world cup. Dinesh Kartik was the 2nd choice keeper batsman instead of Pant.
Pant averages to be good in test cricket. That is because he played 2 glorious knocks overseas. His best score of 159 not out came against Australia and he also scored 110 runs against England. Now to cement his place in the limited overs set-up, Pant needs to use his opportunities well. He can be the keeper batsman for India in the world T20 which will be played in Australia in 2020.
Sanju SamsonAnother youngster who can replace MS Dhoni behind the stumps is Sanju Samson. Samson has batted well for his team in the Indian Premier League but is inconsistent. When he plays a big inning, he is an absolute treat to watch. Samson hasn’t played any One Day Internationals for India yet. He has played just 1 T20I match against Zimbabwe at Harare in 2015. That match didn’t go well for him. Sanju scored only 19 runs in his debut match. Samson gets starts but he doesn’t convert them, that’s the main problem in this youngster. In the IPL 2019 too, he got many starts, but he failed to convert them. If Sanju Samson wants to replace Dhoni, then he will have to do what Dhoni has done. Dhoni has played long innings for India and is also the best finisher. He has won many matches for the country. Samson needs to emulate that if he gets an ODI or a T20I call-up. Samson might be considered for the limited overs series against West Indies in August. He should be ready for that.
Naman Ojha Naman Ojha was considered ahead of Pant in the tests. He was the wicketkeeper in the tour to Sri Lanka. But he played only 1 test match and was never in the contention. Ojha needs more matches to prove himself. With just 1 test, he has played just 1 ODI and 1 T20I match. But he failed to impress the team management and the selectors. Ojha has a good first-class record. He has scored 9,560 runs from 143 matches. He also has 21 centuries and 55 fifties. He averages 41.92 in first-class cricket. The selectors need to look at these records also. In list A cricket too, he has scored 3,979 runs at an average of 32.08 with 8 hundreds and 21 fifties. His records are considerable, which can make him a part of the West Indies tour.
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Saha was out of the squad because of an injury and still can’t find a place in the team. He was the first choice to keep wickets after Dhoni’s retirement from test matches in 2014. He played for India in the test matches but a sudden injury almost ruined his career. But still, he can make in the ODI and the T20I set up for India. He has scored over 1000 runs in 32 test matches. This performance in the test matches has been impressive. But in ODIs, he hasn’t been there. He has played 9 ODI matches but failed to impress. He scored only 41 runs from the 9 ODI matches he played. Saha has played well in the first class cricket, List A cricket and in the T20s. He has scored over 1000 runs in each of them. So this can be a criterion for his selection. Saha needs to be fit and should be able to perform everywhere to catch the eyes of the selectors.
Ishan Kishan Another youngster who has done well in the IPL is Ishan Kishan. He hails from Bihar and has played cricket from where Dhoni has played. So this must be an inspiration from young Kishan. This youngster can open the innings when it is needed and can bat in the middle order as well. He is a key player for Mumbai Indians and has also done well in the domestic circuit. Ishan has scored over 1000 runs in list A cricket and also in T20s. But, in first-class cricket, he has scored more than 2000 runs. He is eligible for his maiden ODI and T20I call up. He can also feature in the T20I world cup which will start in Australia next year. If India is looking for players who can replace MS Dhoni then they should try Ishan Kishan in the series against West Indies.