Legendary wicketkeeper-batsman MS Dhoni’s retirement from international cricket has left Indian fans, experts and former cricketers in dilemma over the gap to be filled in the team. While KL Rahul has cemented his place behind the stumps in the white-ball format, Wriddhiman Saha has emerged as the best choice in red-ball cricket.
Meanwhile, the future of two young wicketkeepers, Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson, remains in jeopardy. Pant, due to his inconsistent performances with the bat, has been dropped from the limited-overs squads for the upcoming Australia series. Samson has been selected in both the T20I and ODI squads for the tour Down Under. In the recently concluded IPL, the 26-year-old gave two breathtaking performances in Sharjah displaying his obvious prodigious talent and ability with the bat. But as in the past, he went off the boil and registered several single-digit scores for the next few matches in the tournament. More often than not, he became victim of his over-confidence.
Amid the wicketkeeping conundrum in Team India, Mumbai Indians (MI) youngster Ishan Kishan has knocked the doors of national selectors with his scintillating performances in IPL 2020. The 22-year-old finished as MI’s top run-getter, scoring 516 runs at an impressive average of 57.33.
Taking Ishan’s stellar form into account, former BCCI chief selector MSK Prasad has labelled the Patna born as ‘hot contender’ for a place in India’s T20I & ODI squads.
“It’s really fantastic to see this pocket dynamite in action. He had a fantastic IPL. Batting at No. 4 and later opening the innings, shows his adaptability and temperament. His ability to switch gears as per the team’s requirements will definitely place him as a hot contender for the wicketkeeper-batsman slot for Team India in both T20s & ODIs in times to come,” Prasad was quoted as saying by TOI.
“If he can keep wickets well and bat the same way he did in the IPL, he will be a welcome addition to the national squad,” he added.
Former Australian cricketer Tom Moody had also tagged Ishan as a ‘real package’ due to his flexibility to bat at any position in the playing XI.
“We do know that he can keep as well. He doesn’t need to keep in that Mumbai side so he’s the real package. The other thing is that he can open the batting and also looks comfortable batting in the middle and that’s quite rare for a young player to have that sort of open mind and flexibility,” Moody told ESPNCricinfo.