The Advent of One Day cricket brought along several marvels to the game of cricket. One of those was the regular allrounders in the playing XI. All rounders gave that extra edge to the teams who wanted to take their batting deep or have an extra batting option in the time of crisis. Role of the wicket keeper was not just keeping the wickets any more. Instead batting became the wicket keepers main role as many teams opted to play a batsman who could keep the wickets instead of a proper wicket keeper who could bat.
Now with arrival of T20 Cricket and the new rules which has turned cricket into a roller coaster ride, Good wicket keeper batsman have become ever so important. Each top team has to have reliable wicketkeepers specially batting allrounders who can not only keep but strike big when needed. India was blessed with Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who took the torch from a part time wicketkeeper Rahul Dravid.
MS Dhoni came to the international arena and became an instant hit with the bat. His ability to strike big soon grew his reputation into a match winner. Once Dhoni became a captain he never looked back and became one of the India’s greatest captain in history. There is no title or trophy that MS Dhoni didn’t won in his career.
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After the India’s shocking exit from ICC World Cup 2019. Dhoni came under a lot of fire and India for the first time in years started looking for an alternative. But a player who could match a stature of Dhoni was almost impossible to find. Selectors who were already impressed by the young Rishabh Pant decided to gave him a full chance in the team in the absence of Dhoni.
Rishab Pant was full of talent but that talent with the bat but he failed to impress in his initial run in the National Team. India was quick to bounce back to the make-shift keeper approach (just like Rahul Dravid). KL Rahul soon replaced Rishabh Pant who came under a lot of fire after his consecutive failures in the home series against Australia.
On the other hand KL Rahul was an exceptional batsman but he was just a part timer behind stumps.
Rishabh Pant made his Test debut back in 2018 against the English team in August. In 2019 Rishabh Pant became the first wicketkeeper batsman to have scored a Test century in and against Australia.
Rishabh Pant’s inclusion into the India’s playing XI against Australia came after Hanuma Vihari failed to impress with the bat.
India lost the First Test against Australia poorly and Hanuma Vihari scored in single figures in both innings. India went for Rishabh Pant’s inclusion in the 2nd Test.
Pant on his return to the India’s playing XI in 2nd match batted only in the first innings as India won the match comfortably at the end. Pant could only score 29 runs.
Rishabh Pant was able to prove his metal is the 3rd match where he played a gem of a knock which turned out to be a match saving one at the end. Rishabh scored 37 in the first innings, but his 97 runs in the second innings on DAY-5 against the steaming Aussie bowlers was a courageous innings that saved the match and later the series for India.
In the fourth outing against Australia Pant managed to score 89* which turned out to be a match winning effort for India. It was a spectacular innings from Pant which left Australians stunned on DAY-5 of the test match. Pant had snatched victory from the Jaws of defeat and led his team to victory.
All doubts upon Rishabh Pant and him being a worthy replacement of MSD were cleared and he established him self as a match winning player in the Indian squad.
Rishabh also became the fastest Indian Wicketkeeper batsman to reach 1000 runs in result of his successful Australian tour.
It is still very early to say if Rishabh Pant will be able to fill MS Dhoni’s shoes in the longer run but he certainly is now the main contender to do so. His recently performance will only made him more confident player. Dhoni is a legend and no one can truly replace him but looks a worthy candidate to follow his legacy in the Indian team.
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