Published By: Saksham Mishra

Who after Dhoni: India's wicket-keeping options post MSD's retirement

With Dhoni at the centre of Indian cricket from 2004 to 2019, India did not really need to look at other wicket-keeping options. With 'Captain Cool' having retired from international cricket, aged 39, India will have to pick from among the following four options as MS Dhoni's permanent replacement behind the wickets in white-ball cricket:

Rishabh Pant 

Rishabh Pant was looked at as the obvious successor to MS Dhoni after his exploits, particularly in the IPL. Pant averages over 35 in his IPL career. From over 50 matches, the southpaw has struck at over 160 and is rated highly by cricket analysts.

However, his inconsistency and reckless shot making led to a few eyebrows being raised. As things stand, he has slid below KL Rahul in the pecking order.

KL Rahul

KL Rahul was considered a pure batsman for the longest time. He surprised one and all by doing a commendable job of filling in as the wicket-keeper when Rishabh Pant suffered a concussion.

His keeping was almost flawless, and it led him to retain the wicket-keeper's spot. Rahul, who was otherwise finding it tough to get into the playing XI ahead of established openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, made a place for himself by adding tremendous value to the team by donning the gloves.

He averages over 45 in both ODIs and T20 cricket, with the best strike rate among the Indian top order batsmen. If his body can sustain the rigours of both the formats, he is India's first-choice option at the moment.

Sanju Samson On his day, Sanju Samson is a delight to watch. He times it sweetly and the balls almost fly off his willow.

Samson's attacking instinct is unparalleled. For Rajasthan Royals, he averaged close to 35 in IPL 2019 and struck at almost 150. However, his biggest problem has been his inconsistency, which reflects in his career IPL figures. If Samson can be a bit more consistent, he will stake his claim to be MSD's successor.

Ishan Kishan

The most left-field choice among the four is this left-handed opening batsman from Jharkhand. Ishan Kishan hails from the same state as Dhoni and packs a punch, as his T20 strike rate of 130 plus suggests.

But, the 22-year old is still young and has a long way to cover in terms of repeating his heroics on a more consistent basis.