The Battle to Fill the MSD Void
Fortunately, it would be comparatively an easy task today to replace a 'half Dhoni' at least in the role of batsman he played in the final stages of his career.
There would be a new connotation in the Indian cricket after the retirement of the legendary cricketer Mahendra Sing Dhoni; After Dhoni (AD) and Before Dhoni (BD). The vacuum which left behind the most successful captain of Indian cricket is so deep, and many believe unfillable for an extended period. The saga of MSD has begun by ending the long-awaited dream of Indian cricket fans to have a wicketkeeper like Adam Gilchrist or Mark Butcher. Indian cricket had faced a severe scarcity of talent for the role of wicketkeeper-batsman in the BD era. Fortunately, it would be comparatively an easy task today to replace a ‘half Dhoni’ at least in the role of batsman he played in the final stages of his career.
In the AD era, there are talents like Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, and Ishan Kishan to ensure stability behind the stumps. K L Rahul is another proven choice as wicket keeper-top order batsman for Indian cricket even though he has joined the team, not as a wicketkeeper-batsman. However, the selectors have four different talents to replace MSD in the Indian team.
Rishab Pant was the first choice for the selectors since Dhoni struggling to maintain the form. Unfortunately, the youngster fizzled out from the team after a sizzling start many young cricketers would only dream. The team has also tried Sanju on several occasions, but he too failed miserably in converting the opportunities. No one has doubted their talent or capability to perform behind and in front of the stumps. So the chances are still alive for them to put on the shoes left behind by MSD.
Ishan Kishan, another Jharkhand boy, is considered as one of the best replacements for Dhoni. He is the one who not yet debut for India among the three youngsters vying to replace MSD. Ishan Kishan has made the headline by leading the Indian side in the 2016 Under-19 world cup. The performance in the coming IPL as a wicketkeeper-batsman will be very crucial for this youngster to knock the doors of the national team.
Sanju has made it into the national side first among the three youngsters in 2015. At that time Rishab and Ishan were just 17 years old. However, it took him five more years for the second appearance in the Indian cap. He has to face a tough challenge from Rishab and Ishan to make it into the Indian team once again.
The selectors would glue their eyes in the coming IPL on these youngsters to find a suitable replacement for Dhoni in the upcoming season. Those who perform consistently front and behind the wicket would be the first choice of captain Virat Kohli to fill the void left by MSD.