After Nayan Mongia played his last One Day International (ODI) in 2001, the problem of a genuine keeper started for India. After that India even played many matches with part time keeper such as Rahul Dravid. In 2004, Mahendra Singh Dhoni started his career as yet another wicket-keeper batsman and surprised everyone at the domestic level. After failing in his first 4 matches, Dhoni got a chance up the order, making an impact immediately. The cricketer from Ranchi struck a superb 148 against Pakistan in an ODI, and there was no looking back since. After that he hammered the Sri Lankan attack in 2005 making 183 not out in Jaipur in a big run chase . The Sri Lankan attack was shocked by the power this guy possessed and took them to the cleaners as he announced his arrival at the international stage.
He established himself as one of the best ODI batsmen in the world and also the greatest finisher, and after gaining success as the captain in the 2007 T20 World Cup and thereafter in Tests and ODIs in 2008, there was no chance for any other wicket-keeper to replace him in any format.
But the Former India captain Dhoni’s decision to make himself unavailable for selection in the limited-overs squad for recent series against West Indies as well as the upcoming series against South Africa has opened doors for the youngsters vying for a place in the Indian team. Rishabh Pant was given the chance in the recent series in West Indies in all the three formats, but he failed to live up to the expectations. Although, he was expected to fill the shoes of Dhoni, but, now, it seems like he needs a a lot of time to reach that level.
If Pant’s flop show continues during South Africa series as well, then there is now a good chance that team India would look for a replacement in order to bring stability to the batting order. Here are the five players who can take the place of Rishabh Pant in the Indian team-
1. Wriddhiman Saha:
Pant is an aggressive player, but his technique and game does not suit test cricket. There is a very strong chance that Wriddhiman Saha may be back in the Indian team for the Test format of the game. Over the years, Saha has proven his skills with the gloves and he has also worked on his batting. In addition, he also much more experience than Pant.
When Dhoni had announced retirement from Test cricket in 2014, Saha was handed his role and has been the constant behind the wickets for the Indian Test team ever since. He has played some important innings in the limited opportunities he has got and now definitely deserves to be in the playing XI. From the past year and a half, he did not play much due to various injuries but now he is fully fit and it will be interesting to see how he performs on getting the much deserved place in the Indian team.
2. Sanju Samson:
Sanju Samson has been in limelight for many years now. He recently has played some good innings against India A and it is in the form of his life. Although, he made his IPL debut in 2013 and India debut in 2015, he is still only 24 years old and can be perfect player in the middle order. He has the ability to change gears whenever the team requires. He can anchor the innings as well as hit the big shots according to the requirement. He was the star performer in IPL 2018 , scoring 441 runs and playing some valuable knocks for the Rajasthan team. Samson is one of the best young talents in the country and can be India’s long term solution for the wicket-keeper slot.
3. Ishan Kishan:
This youngster from Patna can be prove to very useful for Indian team if given opportunity. Apart from being a good wicket-keeper, he is also a left-hander which will help in bringing balance to the team as India has a lot of right-handers in the middle order. He has already shown his ability to make significant contribution under pressure.
Kishan is currently playing for for India A in the ongoing series against South Africa A at home and is showing the selectors why he deserves a place in the Indian team with his useful contributions. Kishan was selected as the captain of the Indian team for the Under 19 World Cup 2016. He was picked by Mumbai Indians in IPL 2019 auction for Rs 550 lakh.
4. K Srikar Bharat:
He may be unknown to many but he has been impressing a lot in the domestic format. He is an opener and has shown tremendous wicket-keeping skills while playing for Andhra Pradesh in Domestic cricket. He can be considered for test cricket as the Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul are not that consistent. He made his First-class debut at the age of just 19 against Kerala and has been one of the consistent scorer for his state in the last few years. Srikar has also impressed while playing for India A and has piled up a lot of runs. In India A’s unofficial Test against England Lions, he struck a 139-ball 142. His skills will definitely improve with more experience and exposure to different conditions. If he remains consistent, he should be able to make it to the Indian team in the near future.
5. Parthiv Patel:
Parthiv Patel made his test debut against England in 2002 at the age of 17 and has been in and out of the Indian team. He got very few chances after Dhoni made a permanent position in the Indian middle order. Parthiv started on a promising note with both bat and the gloves and played many important innings overseas but then after the Pakistan tour of 2004, he was sidelined mainly because of his poor performance with the gloves.
Patel again made a comeback to the Indian side in 2008 but was not consistent and was soon out of the team. After that he only got a chance t o play when Dhoni was injured or rested. However, he kept on impressing in the Ranji Trophy and other domestic tournaments.In the IPL, Parthiv Patel has played for a lot of franchises and has made valuable contributions.