It is never easy to replace a legend in a sport. And when it comes to MS Dhoni, that becomes even more difficult. However when Dhoni retired from the longest format, at that time Wriddhiman Saha was found to be his ideal replacement.
Previously Naman Ojha and Parthiv Patel were tried for the position. But somehow they never clicked on a permanent basis. Since then the wicketkeeping conundrum in Indian cricket has been going on.
It was the Australian tour four year back which started everything. It is the same Australian tour this year which might have probably provided the answer in the likes of Rishabh Pant.
The 21-year-old proved his worth with the bat both in England and Australia. In both the overseas tour, Pant went on to score a century.
In the ongoing fourth Test at Sydney, his 159* helped India to score 600+ in their first innings. With that score he became the first Indian wicketkeeper to score a century Down Under.
Moreover his 159* is now the highest score by an Indian wicketkeeper in overseas tour. He went past his predecesssor Dhoni, who had scored 148 in Faisalabad.
Pant has a very short Test career so far as he is just 9 Tests old. But in this short span he has scored two centuries and two 90+ scores. It will hard for Kohli and the selectors to see past his heroics and what he has done till now.
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Saha will face a tough comeback
Wriddhiman is undoubtedly the best wicketkeeper in India right now. However he is not a great contributor with the willow. In 32 matches, Saha has scored 1,164 runs.
Moreover he mostly bats at No. 7 and is often sent to bat after Ravichandran Ashwin. Although Saha possesses a good defensive technique, yet it doesn’t fulfill the current demands of the team.
However on the other hand, Pant provides the X-factor. He is more like what Adam Gilchrist and Mark Boucher provided to their respective teams. If Pant continues to perform in the same manner, there is no reason for the selectors to look beyond him.
34-year-old Saha is recovering from his long injury spell and is expected to make a comeback in the IPL. As he is not in the ODI scheme of things, he will be available full season for Sunrisers Hyderabad.
This will give a glimpse to the selectors on how Saha is performing. As a result it will be easy for them then to make a decision. But with current situation, Saha will find it difficult to accommodate in the playing XI. However he will definitely be in and around the team as the backup.