All of us were nervous when Sourav Ganguly stepped down from captaincy as well as when the ‘God of Cricket’ Sachin Tendulkar and ‘Multan Ka Sultan’ Virendar Sehwag retired.
However, our nerves weren’t strained for very long – in came MS Dhoni, who took over captaincy and did wonders with the team, Virat Kohli, who stepped into Tendulkar’s shoes, and Rohit Sharma, who took over Sehwag’s role.
Although we are, as a cricketing nation, lucky to find stellar replacements soon, we have to admit we’ve been spoiled. While other nations stay in the transition phase for a long time, India have always managed to secure legendary players one after the other.
It’s Time We Stop Looking for Dhoni in Pant
This is what’s happening in the case of Rishabh Pant. We want Pant to stump at lightning speed, to play calculative innings and want his ‘every’ DRS decision to be on point just because MS Dhoni did all of the above. Right? This is where we are going wrong.
Even Dhoni made some mistakes. And it is completely fine if Pant makes more mistakes than Dhoni. Maybe Dhoni has spoiled us. The excessive pressure on Pant will only lead to his downfall.
We should allow him to enter a field thinking, ‘I hope I can do something useful today’ instead of ‘I hope I am able to do what MS did.’ And mind you, the pressure is all from us, the fans. It’s pretty clear that the team’s management is putting no pressure on him and that it’s all us.
Keep in mind that when Dhoni came in, he wasn’t faced by immense pressure to be someone or fill someone’s shoes. He was free and had his own time. Pant deserves the same.
Surely, he deserves better than thirty thousand people chanting “Dhoni... Dhoni” after every mistake he makes. It won’t do any good to the youngster’s career.
Yes, maybe Dhoni is still a better choice for the World Cup, given the fact that Pant is not performing too well. But by no means should we pull him down with tags like ‘useless’, ‘over-confident’ and ‘waste’.
Pant is exceptionally talented. He has done things which even Dhoni couldn’t do. Pant has scored a Test century in Australia and England.
Of course, he doesn’t even come close to Dhoni when it comes to wicket-keeping, but then again, who is? Dhoni’s skill is exemplary, making him one of the best in the business in history of the game.
Yes, it doesn’t mean we should be okay with Pant making silly mistakes behind the wicket but we can’t keep saying ‘Dhoni would have done this better’ every time.
Former Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist recently said fans should not compare Rishabh Pant to MS Dhoni.
“My number one suggestion to Indian fans and journalists would be: Don’t attempt to compare him with MS Dhoni. The mould that they used to make Dhoni, they have mashed it up once he was made. So that they make sure that there is not another one.”Adam Gilchrist, Former Australian Cricketer
“My advice would be to learn everything you possibly can, work as hard as you can but don't try to be MS Dhoni, just try to be the best Rishabh Pant,” he added.
Why Pant Needs Dhoni
Maybe what Pant needs right now is for Dhoni to make a comeback to cricket. Dhoni’s return will set two things right – first, India will get an experienced campaigner along with an exceptional keeper and second, Pant will enter the field as Rishabh Pant and not the ‘Next MS Dhoni’.
As of now, it’s very important for Dhoni and Pant to be in the same squad at least (if not playing XI), so that Pant can be groomed into becoming a more responsible cricketer.
It’s pretty evident that Dhoni is keeping himself away from cricket to give Pant some time to grow and cement his place as his successor, but it’s clearly not working. Instead of stepping away, he should be standing right next to Pant in order to help him achieve this.
India needs Dhoni and so does Pant. There’s a reason Indian fans are suddenly so worried about having a good wicket-keeper batsman. For the past 13 years, we didn’t even think once about how important and at the same time difficult it is to find a good wicket-keeper batsman. Dhoni made us believe every keeper is that good.
But this had to happen. All legends have to go. If not today, Dhoni will step away from cricket for good quite soon. And we need to find a good ‘replacement’ for him, not ‘another MS Dhoni’ and the way we are treating Pant is not the way to do so.