Amidst debate around should India start looking for a replacement for MS Dhoni with an eye on 2019 World Cup, former Indian opener Virender Sehwag said no body can replace MS Dhoni at this point of time.
In an exclusive interview to news agency PTI, Sehwag said, “I don’t think anyone can replace Dhoni at this point of time. Rishabh Pant is good but he would also need time to replace him. But that can only happen after 2019. It’s then when we should think about Dhoni’s replacement. Till then let Pant gain experience.”
Explaining his point, Sehwag added that no other player has the kind of experience which Dhoni can provide in the middle and lower order. He went on to say that “we should not worry about whether Dhoni is scoring runs or not. We should only pray that MS Dhoni is fit till 2019 World Cup. The experience that he has in the middle and the lower middle order, no one has that.”
Explaining about the significance of wicket keeping in modern day cricket, Shewag was of the view that an experience wicket keeper is must for the game. “I would never want a guy, who is not a natural ‘keeper. It’s not keeping 20 overs in Indian Premier League. During a 50-over match, one missed stumping or missed catch can change the course of the match. It’s not a risk worth taking,” he said.
The former Indian cricketer also insisted on giving maximum chances to the players featuring in the middle-order as more experience would enable the batsmen to handle pressure better.
“The middle-order that would play in the World Cup along with the bowlers should be given enough opportunities, so by the time of World Cup, they should have played close to 100 ODIs each. They should be ready to handle each and every challenging situation thrown at them,” he said and added, “Experience always enables you to handle pressure better. They can then win you matches in crunch situations. If they are not given that many chances, they could be the weak link. Next 3-6 months, I hope that the core is set.”
“Let one of the middle-order slot be given to one of them while the other slot may be rotated between Kedar Jadhav and Manish Pandey. In that way, you also have given these guys experience while one seasoned player is also there in the set-up,” he said.