Who should replace MS Dhoni as a wicket-keeper batsman in the Indian limited-overs side among KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson? It’s a question that has been doing the rounds ever since 2019 ODI World Cup, when Dhoni last donned the Indian blues. It gathered pace when the former India skipper decided to announce his retirement from international cricket in August this year.
Legendary West Indian cricketer Brian Lara was put on the hot seat with the same question and the stylish left-hander had an interesting take.
Agreeing that all three wicket-keeper batsmen have been pretty good form in the ongoing IPL 2020, Lara said if he was asked this question a year ago then his answer would have been different but now he feels Delhi Capitals wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant is the No.1 contender to take Dhoni’s spot in the Indian side.
Pant hasn’t taken this IPL by storm but he has been one of the most consistent performers so far. In the 5 matches of Delhi Capitals, only once has Pant not managed to cross the 30-run mark. His average of 42.75 is the second-best in his IPL’s career.
Speaking about Rahul, who had taken over Pant as India’s wicket-keeper batsman towards the latter half of 2019, Lara said he shouldn’t be burdened with wicket-keeping.
“Well, first of all I would like to say that KL Rahul should not be bothered with wicketkeeping when it comes to that Indian squad. He’s such a great batsman that I feel that he should concentrate on that and put in a lot of runs on the board,” Lara said.
With a century and two fifties, KXIP captain Rahul is sitting comfortably with the orange cap on his head.
Lara also had high-praise for Sanju Samson but said there is a chink in his armoury against quality bowling, possibly highlighting his weakness against the short-pitched balls.
“Sanju Samson, who is not ’keeping for Rajasthan Royals, but I do understand that he keeps, that’s one of his main jobs – very classy player, looks good so far in the tournament in Sharjah. I feel there’s a little chink in his armoury in terms of his technique against very good bowling on sporty tracks,” Lara added.