Pant should be number one contender to replace Dhoni in Indian team; says Lara

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MUMBAI: Former West Indies skipper Brian Lara has said that Rishabh Pant should be the number one contender to replace MS Dhoni in the Indian squad. Pant is currently playing for Delhi Capitals in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL). Pant had lost his place in the white-ball squad as KL Rahul performed well against New Zealand earlier this year as a wicket-keeper batsman.

Speaking on Star Sports’ show ‘Cricket Connected’, Lara said: “Rishabh Pant a year ago, I would say no, but I feel that he has stepped up in terms of his responsibility as a batsman. Look at how he plays for Delhi Capitals, it looks like he wants that responsibility, he wants that onus on him to score runs, build an innings and get big scores. If he continues that way, I think that he should number one.”

Rishabh Pant

The former Windies skipper also said that KL Rahul should not be bothered about wicket-keeping in the Indian side as he is such a great batsman. Lara also said that Sanju Samson needs to work on the little chinks he has in his armoury.

“I would like to say that KL Rahul should not be bothered with wicketkeeping when it comes to that Indian squad. He’s such a great batsman that I feel that he should concentrate on that and put in a lot of runs on the board. Sanju Samson, who is not ‘keeping for Rajasthan Royals, but I do understand that he keeps, that’s one of his main jobs – very classy player, looks good so far in the tournament in Sharjah. I feel there’s a little chink in his armoury in terms of his technique against very good bowling on sporty tracks,” Lara said.

Pant has played five matches in this year’s IPL so far, and he has scored 171 runs at an average of 42.75. KL Rahul (Kings XI Punjab) and Sanju Samson (Rajasthan Royals) have registered 302 and 171 runs respectively so far in the ongoing IPL.

The 23-year-old has played 13 Tests, 16 ODIs, and 28 T20Is for India so far, managing to score 1,198 runs across all formats of the game. (ANI)