Have we found a replacement of MS Dhoni in test cricket?

MS Dhoni was the best wicketkeeper Batsman and test captain India ever had. After his retirement, Wriddhiman Saha became permanent wicketkeeper and Virat Kohli became captain of test team. Let's find out if they fulfilled the role vacant by MS Dhoni perfectly or not.

Captaincy- Virat Kohli

After the retirement of MS Dhoni from test cricket, Virat Kohli took over the captaincy. India have played 16 tests, won 9, lost 2 and 5 matches were drawn under Virat Kohli so far. These stats show that Kohli has captained India so well. He is one of the best captains after 16 matches as captain. But if you look at the other side of the coin, you will find out that out of these 16 matches, India have played 10 in Subcontinent and four against West Indies. His real test as captain will be when he tours England, Australia and South Africa. Although MS Dhoni's record overseas is not so great, his record at home was brilliant and Virat has done the same so far. This proves that we have found a like to like replacement for MS Dhoni in test cricket when it comes to captaincy. As captain MS Dhoni scored 3454 runs at an average of 40.63 with 5 centuries and 24 half centuries in 60 matches. Kohli so far has 1228 runs at an average of 49.12 with 5 centuries and 2 half centuries. MS Dhoni was sometimes defensive captain but Kohli is always attacking and always goes for victory instead of a draw which is a good sign.

Wicketkeeping – Wriddhiman Saha

MS Dhoni was the best wicketkeeper India ever had and the stats prove it. He is not just the best Indian wicketkeeper, but he is up there in the leagues of Adam Gilchrist, Mark Boucher, Ian Healy and Rodney Marsh. When it comes to dismissals in test cricket, MS Dhoni is 5th best in the history with 294 dismissals in 90 tests. Only Mark Boucher, Adam Gilchrist, Ian Healy and Rodney Marsh are ahead of him but they all have played more matches than him. When it comes to stumping, he is the second best with 38 (Australia's William Oldfield leads with 52 stumpings). So once he retired from test cricket, India desperately needed a Wicketkeeper. There were Names like Robin Uthappa, Naman Ojha, Dinesh Kartik,Parthiv Patel and Wriddhiman Saha. They all were good keepers at First class level but neither their batting was of any match to MS Dhoni nor Wicketkeeping. Saha was given a chance in Adelaide test where he threw his wicket at important time and same was the case with Naman Ojha in Sri Lanka. Saha being the better keeper got a chance in Indian team for home season in 2015-16. So far Saha has 32 dismissals in 17 tests with a dismissal rate of 1.23 which is not bad. After 17 tests MS Dhoni had 52 dismissals at a dismissal rate of 1.52 however he improved by time and ended with a dismissal rate of 1.771. When it comes to batting, MS Dhoni had 810 runs after 17 matches at an average of 32.4 while Saha has 684 runs at 31.09. So by looking at these stats we can say that Saha is going the Dhoni way but still there are differences. MS Dhoni was 24 years of age when he made his test debut and since his debut, he was permanent test wicketkeeper. Wriddhiman Saha despite getting a similar start, don't have age by his side. He is already 31 (Will be 32 on 24th October) so he will have to improve very quickly if he has to achieve even 70% of what MS Dhoni has achieved. His show at Eden Garden in 2nd test was brilliant be it behind the wicket or in front of it but he has to do that regularly.

Now let's get back to our question "Have we found a found a replacement of MS Dhoni in test cricket?" My answer will be yes in terms of captaincy because Virat Kohli has shown us that he could be a better captain than MS Dhoni and age is also by his side. Now when it comes to wicket keeping, currently my answer will be no because Wriddhiman Saha has done a decent job with the bat but still lacks the keeping skills of MSD and he is on the wrong side of the age.

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Author: Partha K.07 Oct 2016 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 6

A good article from the author with statistical details to prove his point. I would only like to say that Wriddhiman Saha has been slowly but steadily cementing his place in Indian National Cricket Team as a wicket-keeper. I feel that in another year or so, Saha will become a true substitute of Dhoni in batting and wicket-keeping.
However, I would like to draw the attention about the need of a second wicket-keeper in Indian team. So far as Test Cricket is concerned, a second wicket-keeper is a must. There can't be any compromise in this regard. I feel that Dinesh Karthik can be considered as the second wicket-keeper for the Indian team. He has a fairly decent record in both Test Cricket and ODI. Karthik has played 23 Tests and scored 100 runs. He has taken 51 catches
and there are 5 stumping in his kitty. In 71 ODIs, Karthik has scored 1313 runs, has taken 49 catches and completed 7 stampings. He has also played 9 T20s .

However, one issue the selectors must have to note. Both Saha and Karthik are in the wrong side of 30s, and as a thumb rule, they can't continue beyond another 5 years. So, Indian selectors must start searching for their substitutes.

Author: Ajay Vikram Singh10 Oct 2016 Member Level: Gold   Points : 1

Hello Partha sir
Since we are playing most of our test cricket at home this season, we probably don’t need a second keeper in the squad. In the case of an emergency, selectors can call a Ranji performer straightaway. Also I would love to see some new faces coming up instead of Parthiv Patel or Dinesh Kartik. I am looking farward to likes of Sanju Samson or even Rishabh Pant. Sanju have not just proved himself in Ranji trophy but IPL too. Rishabh has started 2016-17 season with a bang.

Author: Jeet Singh07 Apr 2017 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 3

We may get better captain than Dhoni or better wicket keeper than Dhoni but a great finisher of the game and hard hitting batsman will be difficult to find. Remember, we have still not the replacement of great Kapil Dev. If we compare Kapil with Dhoni, both are aggressive players and when we have no replacement for Kapil, expecting Dhoni like batsman is very difficult if not impossible. Let the future answer this question.

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