Euro 2020 Special

Who Should Be Team India’s Primary Wicketkeeper?

Team India have a glut of impressive wicketkeepers in the squad currently. The pursuit of finding an apt replacement for former skipper MS Dhoni has resulted in an overflow of talent for the spot. India have candidates in almost every age group for the spot of the wicketkeeper.

While India, under Rahul Dravid, continue to try new combinations of players in the squad, we have witnessed many players in the wicketkeeper’s spot try out their game. We take a look at players who might have what it takes to fill up the massive gloves of MS Dhoni.


Ishan Kishan | 24 years old

Ishan Kishan rose to fame from his impressive stint with Team Mumbai in the Indian T20 League. It seems like the franchise team has laid its full support on the young wicketkeeper as he was their most expensive player in the 2022 auction. Following his recent India T20 League performance, Kishan was given a chance to represent India numerous times this year where he fared much better than expected.

Although still young, Kishan has exceeded the expectations of many, which tips the balance in his favour. His recent ODI match against Zimbabwe saw the young keeper-batter smash a 50 in 61 balls. Given the presence of other senior players in the squad, Kishan has not been lucky enough to be the wicketkeeper more often than he would expect. However, he has a stumping to his name this year, also against Zimbabwe.

Four caught-behinds and two stumpings for the young keeper-better provided he isn’t the primary choice is something to look into. Moreover, he has some more catches as a fielder, which only goes to show his catching qualities with or without the gloves.


Sanju Samson | 27 years old

Sanju Samson has become somewhat of a fan favourite since his valiant efforts as captain in the Indian T20 League with Team Rajasthan. Samson was one of the prolific batters in the 2022 edition as he helped his team to their second-ever final. After the tournament concluded, many thought that Samson’s performance would earn him a spot in the Indian squad. However, the 27-year-old had to wait a long time for his call-up.

After India faced South Africa, Samson received a call for a small series against Ireland. He didn’t start the first match but featured in the second. In that match, Samson smashed an impressive 77 to show just how good he is. Following an impressive match against Ireland, Samson was benched over the likes of Rishabh Pant for their tour of England. The decision sparked an online debate between the Indian fans contemplating whether it was the right call.

However, Samson did not have to wait long for his second opportunity as he was included in India’s tour of the West Indies. He was the elected wicketkeeper in the series and made the most of it with a caught-behind and a stumping under his belt. He even smashed a fifty to show how good a batter he is. Samson, given his age and form, seems like an ideal candidate for the wicketkeeper’s spot. Seven caught-behinds and a stumping cannot be discounted.


Rishabh Pant | 24 years old

Rishabh Pant is the keeper-batter who is leading the race for India’s wicketkeeper role. His appointment as Dhoni’s replacement after his retirement made headlines. Since then it has been a debate whether Pant was the right choice. Back then it was a debate between Pant and KL Rahul, India’s vice-captain. Now it is Pant and various other players.

The 24-year-old has been faring very well for India this year as his explosive yet nonchalant batting has been exceptional. With his match-winning knocks, Pant strongholds his position among the Men in Blue as India’s primary choice. 25 caught-behinds and a stumping in white-ball cricket for Pant make him one of the most prolific keepers in the fraternity. However, with more keeper-batters climbing the ranks, it will be interesting to see how the BCCI will conclude their decision, at least for the T20 World Cup.


Dinesh Karthik | 37 years old

Ideally, it should’ve been Dinesh Karthik to replace a retiring Dhoni as he is the only player after Captain Cool with an experience greater than the rest. However, he went out of favour and did not play for India for a long while until this year. Karthik still hasn’t played ODI for India since 2019; however, he has been a regular player for the Men in Blue in T20I.

Dinesh is known for his finishing abilities, much like that of Captain Cool himself. His batting is already a proven acumen of his. His wicketkeeping is also reliable for someone of his age. He really makes his age look like just a number, given his athleticism and outcome. The 37-year-old has seven caught-behinds and a couple of stumpings under his belt. Safe to say, Dinesh and his experience will play a crucial role in the team.

All the candidates mentioned above are qualified, tested and proven. It will be instructive to see how the Indian camp picks their primary wicketkeeper.

Also Read: How Similar Are India’s Number 18s, Smriti Mandhana and Virat Kohli?




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