Mohammad Kaif has gone on to say that India has not found a replacement for the legendary Mahendra Singh Dhoni till now. MS Dhoni has been on a sabbatical from the game ever since India's heartbreaking World Cup 2019 semi-final loss against New Zealand at Manchester in July last year. Rishabh Pant, who was seen as Dhoni's successor failed to make an impact either with the bat or behind the stumps and KL Rahul was made the make-shift wicket-keeper once Pant was concussed during the ODI series against Australia earlier this year.
However, Kaif also reckons that Rahul is not a long-term option.
During a recent interview with a daily publication, the former middle-order batsman went on to say that India has not yet found a replacement for the veteran stumper as so many players have been tried in place of MS Dhoni. Meanwhile, Kaif also mentioned that KL Rahul is not a long-term option and that he should always be the back-up wicket-keeper. He also added that if a keeper gets injured then Rahul should keep wickets and therefore, it is important to groom another keeper. Furthermore, the former world-class fielder also added that the youngsters like Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson have not succeeded in taking the 2011 World Cup-winning skipper's place.
Kaif, who had led India to an U-19 World Cup triumph in 2000 also went on to say that when one talks about the legendary cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, they have had replacements like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, etc. who have succeeded in filling that void but that has not been the case with Dhoni. He then said that the Jharkhand player is still the number one wicket-keeper and since he is amazingly fit, the 'Captain Cool' should not be sidelined in a hurry.
While MS Dhoni has remained away from the game since July 2019, many former and active cricketers alike have voiced their opinion regarding the veteran’s return. Many experts believe that a good IPL 2020 outing by Dhoni would bring him in contention for India’s T20 World Cup squad in Australia later this year. Former opener Kris Srikkanth also believes that without the IPL 2020, the CSK skipper’s return to Team India will become a bit difficult, a view which is also shared by MS Dhoni's former teammates Gautam Gambhir and Ashish Nehra. Moreover, India head coach Ravi Shastri himself stated in January that MS Dhoni’s return to international cricket will depend on his performance in the IPL 2020.