Even a week back, we Indians were involved in a discourse that who would be the likeliest successor to Dhoni when the erstwhile Indian skipper steps down from the podium, and now the most dreaded thing for an Indian cricket fan transpired in the most reticent fashion as Mahi stepped down from international cricket without making a single noise.
Joined by Suresh Raina, his best friend, and his favourite cricketer in his farewell, he posted a sudden Instagram post on 15th August that marked the end of a glittering career that spanned for almost 15 years.
Now that the inevitable unfolded before our eyes, India will have to look forward to replacements for the towering wicket-keeper.
Though a few names have been doing the rounds vehemently, Rishabh Pant leads the contest to become the ace wicket-keeper of the nation in the shorter format of the game. Already showcasing his class against Australia in the latter’s backyard, Pant filed a strong case for himself with some colossal strikes which were of symbolic importance for the young southpaw.
We will look at five reasons why Pant will make the perfect replacement for Dhoni.
1. Made the cut for the national team riding on his massive strikes
Pant is an extremely talented lad, capable of unleashing a merciless onslaught upon his opponents, whenever he gets going. Not really known for taking time to settle in and then going for the kill, he gets to business straightaway right since his introduction.
If you all recall, this was exactly the way, Dhoni paved his way into the national team. Probably it is extremely early to comment that he will go on to follow the exact same footsteps which Dhoni took to kiss those heights, but the glimpses of a ruthless hard-hitter are currently his biggest USP. To underline his brutal power, those one-handed sixes are his version of Mahi’s helicopter shots.
2. Puts up a decent show behind the stumps
Though it will take him quite a lot of time to replicate Dhoni’s exact heroics behind the stumps, as we are talking about replacing the best wicket-keeper of the world here and if we actually look at Australia, they are still to find the perfect successor to Gilchrist.
However, as of now, Pant has been highly significant as a wicket-keeper. The best part about his keeping has always been keeping his basics neat.
This becomes the true test of a cricketer as one in an attempt to achieve the impossible, he lets go of the roots, and hence his first step towards decadence begins. Given the exception that Pant has been to this rule, his basics are his stronghold and the young lad continues to bolster his forte.
3. Aggression inculcated
When Tim Paine started taking digs at Pant while keeping in the Border Gavaskar Trophy, the Indian keeper got back to Paine at the right time and place. When Starc bounced him, he smashed the next ball for a swirling sixer that was at least 15 rows into the stands.
Though he is fairly new in the circuit and he is still to fire according to his fullest potential, he has already shown glimpses of ruthless brilliance to the world.
A major facet of Pant’s character has always been his aggression. He doesn’t take slams against him pretty lightly. If you are fortunate enough, the discussion may end up with a volley of friendly banters, however, if you end up being in the crosshair of his ire, he will wield his answer through his bat, which would be nothing short of a humiliation for his opposition.
4. A potential finisher
Though he has failed to leave an impressive mark in international cricket as of now, domestic cricket has seen the amount of carnage that he is capable of inflicting upon his opponents in case he gets going.
His years in the IPL has honed him into an adept finisher, as every single time he got his eyes set, he ensured that he stayed in the pitch for a fair deal of time to either finish the innings or at least to take the total to a place from where the remaining batsmen can brew a storm.
With Dhoni gone, team India would be in hot pursuit of a proper finisher as Pandya is more of a pinch-hitter. If Pant can follow the footsteps of his predecessor in international cricketer and build himself into an extremely skilled individual who can finish too, India is in safe hands.
5. A wide variety of shots in his armor
Dhoni was known for his shot selection, most of which were brutal, flying out of the park on numerous occasions. His likeliest successor is different, though. Pant is about glamorous variety where he mixes his shot-selections that ends up leaving a bowler baffled.
Instead of just being all about a monster who loves the aerial routes, Pant uniformly distributes his scoring in every corner of the field, that doesn’t make it any less easy for the bowlers to bowl to this new Mr. Dependable in the making.