Who after Dhoni? Pant, Saha, Karthik, Samson vye for wicketkeeper’s slot in Team India

By: | Published: March 16, 2019 2:39 PM

While young guns Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson are eyeing to fill the big shoes, more experienced campaigners Wriddhiman Saha, Dinesh Kartik would also be hoping to cement their place in Team India.

Wriddhiman Saha Sanju Samson Rishabh Pant MS Dhoni Dinesh Karthik, ICC Cricket world cup 2019 IPLIt will be a daunting task for the selectors to replace Dhoni when he actually retires.

Will MS Dhoni hang his gloves after the ICC World Cup 2019? Only the man himself can answer the question, however, speculation is rife that wicket-keeper/batsman is likely pulling the curtains on his international career after the mega event later this year. Dhoni has arguably the best wicket-keeper that India has produced. For many, he also features in the list of all time greats to have played the game ever. It will be a daunting task for the selectors to replace Dhoni when he actually retires. While young guns Risabh Pant and Sanju Samson are eyeing to fill the big shoes, more experienced campaigners Wriddhiman Saha, Dinesh Kartik would also be hoping to cement their place in Team India.

Wriddhiman Saha

Wriddhiman Saha was the first choice wicket-keeper for India in Tests after MS Dhoni retired from the longer format. Wriddhiman Saha, who made his Test debut in 2010 against South Africa in Nagpur, has been a consistent performer. Saha has played 32 Test matches in which he has 75 catches and 10 stumpings to his name. The wicket-keeper from Bengal has scored 3 centuries and 5 fifties.

As far as ODIs are concerned, he has not been able to perform in whatever opportunities he has got. Saha his ODI debut in 2010 against New Zealand but failed to impress with the bat. He was dropped after that series but was recalled in 2014 after a good IPL season. Saha went to Bangladesh for a three-match ODI series where he again was not able to do much with the bat but did reasonably well behind the wickets.

Wriddhiman Saha has an average of 13.66 in ODI’s and 30.63 in Test cricket. It will be interesting to see if Saha, 34, will get a chance to play in the 50-ver format again or not.

Sanju Samson

Sanju Samson has been the pillar of the Kerala Ranji team. The wicket-keeper batsman has made a name for himself in the IPL. Sanju Samson plays for the Rajasthan Royals and has been one of their mainstays for a very long time. He has also performed well behind the wickets taking 69 catches and 9 stumpings. Sanju Samson was bought by the Delhi Daredevils team back in 2016. He played 2 seasons for the franchise and scored his first IPL century against the Rising Pune Supergiants in the 2017-2018 edition. He will be playing for Rajasthan Royals again in IPL 2019.

Samson has a very good technique and an even better temperament to back his skills. He has played just one T20I for India which was back in 2015 against Zimbabwe in Harare. He scored 19 not out in that game. With age on his side and great skills to back it up, Sanju Samson will definitely be a contender for the wicket-keeper’s spot once MS Dhoni retires.

Samson has an average of 36.08 in first-class cricket. In List A, he averages 27.36 with a strike rate of 78.37.

Rishabh Pant

Rishabh Pant appears to be the most likely replacement of Dhoni at present. Since Saha’s injury, the left-hander from Delhi has been the first choice wicket-keeper in Test cricket. Rishabh Pant has been very impressive in the longer format of the game. He is the only Indian wicket-keeper who has scored a century in England. Pant’s attacking style of batting has impressed all and particularly Virat Kohli.

Pant, who is being looked at as MS Dhoni’s successor, has played all three formats of the game. While he has done well in Tests, the flamboyant batsman has so far failed to live up to his reputation of scoring at a brisk pace. He averages 49 in Test cricket and 23.25 in ODIs.

Pant will be playing for Delhi Capitals (previously Delhi Daredevils) in IPL 2019.

Dinesh Karthik

Dinesh Karthik is one of the most experienced wicket-keepers in Indian cricket after MS Dhoni at present. Dinesh Karthik made his Test debut back in 2004 against Australia at Mumbai, however, his career was overshadowed by Dhoni’s runaway success in all the formats of the game. Karthik made his ODI debut before his Test debut against England at Lord’s.

Karthik, who has a sound batting and wicket-keeping technique, is also hoping to get a ticket for Team India’s flight to England for the ICC World Cup 2019. Dinesh Karthik’s vast experience helps him to absorb pressure in crunch situations and selectors would want someone to do exactly that in the absence of MS Dhoni, the master finisher.

Dinesh Karthik, who will be captaining Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2019, averages 25.00 in Test cricket and 31.03 in ODIs. Young guns or an experienced lot – who will selectors go with?

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