Who will finally shine in MS Dhoni’s spot?

The stakes are surely high and team India need to make an urgent and right call.

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It is important that Team India gets someone strong enough to fill in the spot left vacant by MS Dhoni © Getty Images
It is important that Team India gets someone strong enough to fill in the spot left vacant by MS Dhoni © Getty Images

With one of the most successful Indian Test skipper, MS Dhoni, calling curtains on his career last year in Australia, the spot for a solid wicketkeeper-batsman is up for grabs. With a three-Test series against Sri Lanka coming up, it is important that Team India gets someone strong enough to fill in the spot left vacant by Dhoni. Wriddhiman Saha occupies the spot for now, but is the right choice? The stakes are surely high and team India need to make an urgent and right call for the benefit in the longer run. Ayush Gupta takes a look at the possible contenders.

Wriddhiman Saha

The current replacement as a wicketkeeper-batsman, Wriddhiman Saha has proved to be a top contender for the spot left vacant by Dhoni. Following some real good performances in the domestic circuit, especially in the Indian Premier League (IPL), Saha made it to the Indian side quite a number of times under Dhoni’s reign and has acted as a backup wicketkeeper. However, following Dhoni’s departure, Saha has taken over as the first-choice wicketkeeper-batsman for Team India in Test cricket. He failed to fire in his first post-Dhoni game against Australia, in the fourth Test at Sydney, scoring just 35 runs and also in the next game against Bangladesh, where he scored a mere six in the first innings. It indicates that he has been shaky. India vs Zimbabwe 2015: Zimbabwe marks out of 10

However, a good amount of international exposure would surely bring his batting on track as he indeed is a talented cricketer and has proved his worth in the domestic circuit. Also, he is an able wicketkeeper who has been impressive so far in the couple of games he has played. There are shortcomings in his batting and in temperament, and Saha is vulnerable on many counts.

Robin Uthappa

The wicketkeeper-batsman from Karnataka has been in sensational form of late in the domestic circuit, especially in the IPL, while playing for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). He ended as the highest run-scorer in IPL 2014.   He also put up a decent performance with the gloves behind the wicket and finishing fourth in the wicketkeeper’s list with most dismissals. In 2015, he finished third in the wicketkeeper’s list, claiming 12 dismissals, and also finished as the highest run-scorer for the IPL sides. Robin Uthappa deserves a longer run in Indian team

Thus, with a decent performance, both with the bat and the ball, he deserves a comeback to the Indian Test side, especially as a wicketkeeper, as he could act as one of the perfect replacement for Dhoni.

Naman Ojha

With his immense wealth of talent, both with the bat and behind the wickets, Naman Ojha presents a strong case. Considering his domestic performances, he has been a phenomenal batsman, scoring about 835 runs in the Ranji Trophy during the 2013-14 season for Madhya Pradesh. He also scored three consecutive centuries during the India A tour of Australia in 2014, that included a well deserved double-hundred as well. He continued his good form in further A tours and also scored a double ton in the Duleep Trophy, last season, earning him a recall in the Indian Test team during the tour of Australia in December 2014 for the opening Test. India must tweak ODI team following series loss to Bangladesh

Although, he has hardly been as impressive in the IPL as in the domestic circuit, his performance in the longer version of the game can’t be ignored. He has a decent record as wicketkeeper and has been quite handy, that led to his call in the squad for the first Test against Australia. However, with Dhoni gone now, he could breathe easy and hope for the best, as he could well make it to the squad owing to his exploits in the last year or so.

Dinesh Karthik

Dinesh Karthik, of late, has been inconsistent, especially with the bat. He has been constantly in and out of the Indian squads for over the past three years. Although he has been able to find his rhythm back ever since he has joined Mumbai Indians (MI) in the IPL, inconsistent performances in the Indian squad has led to him being dropped. He was the second most expensive cricket in IPL 2015 auction, but failed to live up to the expectations. His last major appearance for India was back in 2013, when he was elected in the squad for the ICC Champions trophy in England, but he was later ignored for the series at home against Australia. MS Dhoni’s tactics and team changes don’t seem to work

Nevertheless, considering his work as a wicketkeeper, he has always been an alert predator behind the wickets, and being younger than Dhoni, he has the reflexes that could come handy for any team. However, in order to get back to the Indian side, he has to work upon his batting. Scoring runs would definitely get him in to the side, but if it’s just based on his wicketkeeping abilities, chances are highly unlikely.

(Ayush Gupta is a reporter at CricketCountry. A passionate supporter of Manchester United, he idolises Roger Federer and is also a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) maniac. He can be followed on Twitter @Ayush24x7)

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