MS Dhoni showed everyone that he still has the chops to keep his place intact in any team, be it Chennai Super Kings or Team India in limited overs format.
His brilliant 79* against KXIP was an exhibition of hitting and keeping the team in the run. Though he didn’t manage to finish it for CSK, he showed that whoever is seeking to replace him, will be looking at the bar set to the maximum level possible.
The Indian Premier League is a breeding ground for talent, who then get their chances in the Indian team. This time, all eyes are on the potential replacements for MS Dhoni, for whom, the 2019 World Cup can be a swansong. Selectors and everyone else will keep an eye out for the potential wicketkeeper-batsmen in the IPL 2018 and based on their performances, they might be placed in the pecking order for Dhoni’s replacement.
Let’s have a look at how the Indian wicketkeeper batsmen in the Indian Premier League are performing
ISHAN KISHAN (MI)
93 runs in 3 matches, SR- 152.45, 3 dismissals
Ishan Kishan has been given the opportunity to open the innings at the Mumbai Indians and so far, he has been able to do justice to the role. However, he is yet to string together a big score worthy of that position. Right now, he has 11 fours and 3 sixes to his name, with the best score of 44 to his name.
Kishan’s abilities behind the stumps were never under question. He is a safe wicketkeeper without being flashy and has done a good job so far. However, the lack of big shots has put Kishan down in the pecking order in a race to replace Dhoni.
RISHABH PANT (DD)
95 runs in 3 matches; SR – 182.69, 1 dismissal
Rishabh Pant has been groomed for a long time to replace Dhoni. He has a penchant to hit big shots and score quickly. However, he has scored just 95 runs in 3 matches with a best of 47. He has hit 13 fours and 3 sixes to his name. However the biggest flaw in his game is that he looks very good for the time he is going after the bowling, but he has still not put any price on his wicket.
Pant loves to hit every ball to the boundary and his game puts him in the danger zone of getting out without helping his team’s cause of scoring a big score. He has numerous blazing 30s and 40s to his name in IPL, but the big scores are few in between, a stat that Pant needs to work on to become a serious contender for Dhoni’s place in the Indian team.
KL RAHUL (KXIP)
135 runs in 3 matches; HS- 51, SR – 198.52, 1 dismissal
KL Rahul was given the responsibility of wicket keeping by his new franchise KXIP for the IPL 2018. Rahul has previously kept for RCB in IPL and even for India on some occasions, but he is never considered to be a full-time wicket keeper.
However, this time, Rahul has a chance to stake a claim for the Indian team in form of a batsman wicket keeper. In IPL 2018, he has already scored 135 runs at an astonishing strike rate of 198.52 and with a record 14 ball half century to his name. His keeping has been solid behind the stumps, barring some lapses. His batting has been brilliant and Rahul can also be considered for the Indian team in the limited overs format as a keeper-opener.
SANJU SAMSON (RR)
178 runs in 3 matches; HS-92*, SR- 163.30
One of the brightest contenders for MS Dhoni’s spot in the Indian team, or become the backup to Dhoni, is Kerala’s, Sanju Samson. Samson plays for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL 2018 edition and scored a brilliant 92* against RCB at Bengaluru, an innings which included 10 sixes and took RR to a great win over hosts RCB.
Samson has not got the chance to keep wickets for RR this time due to the presence of Jos Buttler in the team, but in his previous stint with the team, he was a brilliant wicketkeeper for the team. Samson has been great with the bat for his home Kerala as well and has been looked as the backup for MS Dhoni.
Samson has battled behavioral issues in the past and has overcome those to become one of the prized players in the IPL and now it seems that he is ready to take the next step, into the Indian team. He can bat at any position, even open or as a finisher and can play the textbook shots, as well as slog hits.
DINESH KARTHIK (KKR)
90 runs in 3 matches; SR – 111.11, 2 dismissals
Dinesh Karthik has finally got the status he would have liked in Indian cricket. He has been looking to make a name for himself since his debut in 2004 and was part of the Indian team in stints, despite the presence of MS Dhoni.
Now, however, since his last ball six wins in the Nidahas Trophy, Karthik has attained the level where he is seen as a batsman and keeper on the level near to MS Dhoni and is the no.1 option to Dhoni in the limited overs format. He also made a comeback into the Test team and has put Saha on notice, thanks to his superior batting abilities.
Karthik was bestowed one of the best acts of trust anyone can do in cricket, as KKR made him their skipper for IPL 2018 and showed that Karthik was amongst the top level cricketers in the country. Karthik will definitely keep Dhoni on his toes and will always be present as a backup to Dhoni and can play alongside Dhoni, as a specialist batsman as well, something he has done on tour of South Africa.