Gautam Gambhir Backs KL Rahul

Former batsman weighs up wicketkeeping berth

MS Dhoni India

Former India opening batsman Gautam Gambhir has labelled the talented KL Rahul an “apt replacement” for fellow wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni in T20I cricket.

Dhoni has not been offered a contract extension by the Board of Control for Cricket in India – and might not be picked for the squad for the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year. Rahul, meanwhile, has retained the wicketkeeping berth in the T20I XI ahead of the young Rishabh Pant.

“The apt replacement for Dhoni could be Rahul. Ever since he has donned the keeper's gloves in white-ball cricket, I've seen his performance, both batting and keeping. Obviously his keeping is not as good as Dhoni's, but if you are looking at T20 cricket, Rahul's a utility player, can keep and bat at number three or four,” Gambhir told Star Sports Cricket Connected.

Dhoni is part of the Chennai Super Kings' squad for this year's edition of the Indian Premier League. The start of the tournament has been delayed as a preventative measure against the spread of the coronavirus. It might be subjected to more delays.

“If the IPL does not happen, then Dhoni's chances for a comeback look dim. Ultimately, you are representing India, so whoever dishes out the best performance and can win the match for India should play for the team. As far as his retirement plans go by, that's his personal choice,” added Gambhir.

Dhoni and Chennai's IPL history

The Super Kings have won three IPL titles. They lost last year's final to the Mumbai Indians, who have won four titles.

“I think playing for CSK will keep him going because he's supremely fit and age is just a number, and especially when someone like Dhoni is not only physically fit, but mentally very astute as a captain, as a leader he enjoys leading the CSK franchise,” added former India batsman VVS Laxman said in the same show.

“He's been very successful doing that and as far as Dhoni's cricket is concerned, I'm sure you're looking forward to watch him play in the IPL. Not only this IPL, he will probably play in the next couple of IPLs, and then we will take a call about his future as a cricketer.”

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