Indian Cricket’s poster boy and the captain with Midas touch, MS Dhoni announced his retirement from International Cricket on 15th August this year. In a career spanning around 16 years, Dhoni guided team India to unprecedented heights under his captaincy. Starting right from inaugural T20 World Cup win in 2007, Dhoni went on to win 2011 World Cup and 2013 Champions trophy. Team India also became No.1 Test team under his tenure as Team India’s captain.
The 39-year old played his last international match for India in World Cup 2019 semi-final July last year. Ever since the team India selectors have given unlimited opportunity to Rishabh Pant in a bid to groom him for wicket-keeper batsman’s role but the Delhi boy failed miserably before gifting his position to KL Rahul.
After persisting with Rishabh for 8 months, Indian selectors finally excluded the youngster from limited overs squad for Australia tour. Now with Australia tour on the horizon, Indian Cricket team coach Ravi Shastri answered the MS Dhoni replacement question in a talk with TOI.
Terming MS Dhoni’s void a huge one, Shastri said that it’s almost impossible to find another player of Dhoni’s calibre. In Shastri’s words Dhoni’s absence is as big as that of Kapil Dev’s or Sachin Tendulkar’s in their time and it is up youngsters how they prepare and own the position left vacant by Dhoni.
“Those are massive boots to fill. With the track record, he (Dhoni) has, he has gone down in history as one of our greatest cricketers. Not just as a keeper and a batsman but his record as captain. To find a replacement for him is like once Kapil Dev finished can we get a Kapil Dev? Till today, we haven’t found another Kapil Dev,” Shastri told Times Now.
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“Can we get another Tendulkar? It’s not easy to get these kinds of players but there is enough talent in the country and it is up to the youngsters to grab the opportunity,” the Indian head coach added.
In Dhoni’s absence, KL Rahul has pipped Rishabh Pant as first choice wicket-keeper in the team for Australia tour. In the limited chances, KL has proved his worth behind the stumps and provided much needed stability to lower middle order in ODIs.