‘His journey reminds me of Dhoni’: Ashish Nehra believes young player can create ‘similar impact’
Former India pacer Ashish Nehra believes that Rishabh Pant has the game and pedigree and that he comes closest to creating an impact similar to what MS Dhoni did. “I don’t see anyone coming close to the impact he [Dhoni] has had as a wicketkeeper-batsman except for Rishabh Pant,” Nehra was quoted as saying by Times of India.
Dhoni came into the side when Rahul Dravid was being used as a makeshift wicket-keeper and after a jittery start, the Jharkhand batsman made this position his own and leapfrogged the likes of Dinesh Karthik and Parthiv Patel.
“Dinesh Karthik was an exceptional talent with sound technique. But Dhoni did what DK and Parthiv couldn’t — make the most of his opportunities. Dhoni may not have been the best-looking batsman or a sound wicketkeeper, but he certainly was the best wicket-keeper-batsman,” Nehra further added.
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On April 5, 2005, Dhoni smashed his first international century and as per Nehra, this convinced the management that they had found a viable option.
“Dhoni’s innings is of great significance for Indian cricket,” Nehra, who was part of the XI in that game against Pakistan, said. “That innings got the team to believe that we too could have a prolific wicketkeeper-batsman. Dhoni didn’t have a great time in his initial matches. But when a confident man like him gets an opportunity and cashes in, then it’s hard to pull him back. Unwavering self-confidence is Dhoni’s strength.
Now, with Dhoni fading away, the management has heaped a lot of faith on Rishabh Pant, but the young Delhi batsman has not been able to make the most of these opportunities. However, as per Nehra, his journey is similar to how Dhoni started off in his career.
“Pant’s journey – though it is still early days – reminds me a lot of Dhoni,”Nehra said.