Former Indian batsman Mohammad Kaif believes former skipper MS Dhoni should not be sidelined by the team management and the national selectors as KL Rahul is not a long term wicket-keeper option. Dhoni last played in the Indian colours back in the semi-final of the 2019 World Cup against New Zealand. Thus, there are questions raised on his return to the national side.
Dhoni was expected to call it a day after the World Cup but he had other ideas. It was speculated that the IPL could pave a way for Dhoni’s return into the national side. However, the tournament is still hanging on by a thin thread due to coronavirus. But Mohammad Kaif doesn’t think the same.
Mohammad Kaif feels Dhoni can still make a comeback.
On the other hand, KL Rahul was able to grab his opportunities and he has been backed as a first-choice keeper in the limited overs side. Rahul had taken over the gloves from Rishabh Pant after the latter was hit by a bouncer from Pat Cummins in an ODI in January.
Subsequently, Rahul scored 224 runs in the T20I series against New Zealand and also impressed with his keeping skills. Thus, Virat Kohli had confirmed that he would be backed as the first choice keeper of the white ball side. Rahul has kept wickets for Karnataka in his formative years and also keeps for Kings XI Punjab.
Kaif added that there is no replacement for a player like MS Dhoni. In fact, Parthiv Patel had also said yesterday (May 20) that Rahul is a short-term solution for the Indian team.
“There has been no replacement. So many players have been tried in place of Dhoni. I don’t think KL Rahul is a long-term option. He should always be the back-up wicket-keeper, if a keeper gets injured then Rahul should keep wickets. So you have to groom another keeper. Even Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson haven’t been able to take the place of Dhoni. When you talk of Sachin, Dravid, you have had replacements like Kohli, Rohit, Rahane, Pujara. They have filled that void. But it hasn’t been the case with Dhoni. So I think Dhoni is still the number one wicket-keeper. He is amazingly fit and he should not be sidelined in a hurry,” Kaif said while talking to Times of India.
MS Dhoni has been a massive servant for the Indian team. Dhoni has done a fine job over the years and the team has reaped fruits. However, Dhoni’s return to the national side is not going to be easy.