MS Dhoni is on the verge of bidding adieu to international cricket and India has started to look for his alternatives. The Delhi wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant was picked over Dhoni for T20I series against West Indies and Australia.
Not only in T20Is, even in Tests India has picked Pant for the wicket-keeping role. They had Wriddhiman Saha as their first option, but after his injury, India tried Parthiv Patel and Dinesh Karthik for South Africa and England respectively.
Both failed to do their job and made way for Pant who has done well till now. A century in England and couple of the 90s against West Indies showed his potential with the bat.
Former Indian wicket-keeper Vijay Dahiya has backed Pant and sees him as the successor of Dhoni.
“The way the Indian team is playing right now, they are looking for a wicket-keeper who is an all-rounder. Parthiv Patel has given his bit, Dinesh Karthik has been given chances many times, but the way Rishabh Pant has grabbed the opportunities in Tests, it stands out," Dahiya told Times of India.
"Pant bats like a match-winner," he added.
Dahiya believes with every game Pant is going to gain experience. "We have got an excellent option in Pant. With every international outing, he is going to be better and better. He is phenomenal. The more he plays, the better he becomes. For Tests, if selectors want to look up to Wriddhiman Saha, they can, but for me, Pant is in front in every format," he said.
Selectors have shown confidence in the 20-year-old explosive batsman, and his inclusion in the T20I and ODI side clearly indicates that they see him as India's future with the gloves behind the wicket.
"Pant's inclusion with Dhoni is a signal that Indian cricket is looking forward. It is difficult to fill Dhoni's shoes but the way Pant is performing, he will in time," said Dahiya.
"Dhoni is a legend of the game. He has changed the face of Indian cricket," the former Indian cricketer lauded the Jharkhand cricketer.
Talking about India's upcoming challenge in Australia, Dahiya said, "It is going to be a tough tour because Australia is playing in Australia. Whenever Australia have toured India, they had a tough time. Local support always matters. It is going to be an interesting series.
"Australia doesn't have their best side now, they are also a side in the making. I am hoping for a good contest."
Commenting on Steve Smith and David Warner's absence, he said, "They can take any side to a win. As far as their cricketing abilities are concerned, they are surely going to miss Warner and Smith on the field. Their absence will be an added advantage for India. They are the match-winners."