MS Dhoni vs Rishabh Pant - factors influencing their DRS calls
There was a time in early April when the fans were so desperate to have Rishabh Pant in the World Cup squad which was supposed to travel to England. He was doing a fine job in the IPL as well, smashing apart some of the best fast bowlers with ease. He clearly was showing positive signs but lacked composure which could've earned him a ticket.
Fans were left fuming when Dinesh Karthik was prioritized over Pant in the 15-man squad, but they were all happy when Shikhar Dhawan was ruled out and Pant's dream finally came true. It was obvious he wasn't going to keep wickets with MS Dhoni in the team, but he did play some crucial games, including the semifinal against New Zealand.
After he got out playing a slog-sweep at a critical position, the fans changed their opinions and surprisingly, the onslaught was on Pant and the selectors who sent him to England. That's Pant's young life in a nutshell at the international stage, even he doesn't know when he will receive the love or criticism.
But comparisons with MS Dhoni are always inevitable, considering a fact that he's already taken the big man's place in the T20Is. He has had some struggles while using the DRS as a keeper and the two decisions he suggested the Indian skipper Virat Kohli to review in the same over in the first T20I against Bangladesh just left the fans fuming.
Dhoni using the DRS vs Pant using the DRS
One of the biggest factors which influence the usage of the Decision Review System is the adrenaline rush. In the heat of the moment, when things are not going your way, even a close shave looks like a clear wrong decision from the umpire and any delivery that hits the pad, it will entice you to go upstairs. They do say that the keepers have the best angle to check for DRS, but there are some things that are difficult for them to spot as well.
The keeper cannot determine if there was some contact with the bat's meat before the ball hit the pad, because of the angle. One of the things they can very accurately spot is where the ball is pitching and to an extent, they will have a great idea on how much the ball is bouncing as well.
MS Dhoni never knew what adrenaline was, did he?
He's so calm and composed under pressure, it seems like the world would pause in his brain for him to contemplate only the cricketing situation. How he's got there mentally is a difficult thing to analyze as it takes years of practice and a lot of other habits to attain that mental strength.
Pant is still a young cricketer and is pretty exuberant with his approach.
He's clearly the opposite of what MS Dhoni was during his time, but that doesn't mean he can't be the right replacement. It could take more time for the Delhi man to hold his nerves of excitement before he can pass on his judgment to the Indian skipper, but as it stands, he's country miles behind the 38-year-old.
Can he say no to Kohli?
Now, some of them would argue that although Virat Kohli is a senior and the captain, he will give the keeper enough freedom to say him no during such situations, especially the young keepers like Pant. But imagine yourself in that situation, with 30-40 odd thousand people cheering and an adamant Virat is on your face asking if that's out or not out, it's not easy to say no, especially for young cricketers.
Pant time and again has shown he has a child in him who keeps the team alive sometimes. But that child also keeps him a little intimidated from elderly and senior figures in the side. MS Dhoni never had that issue and whenever he felt DRS intervention wasn't required, he would say a clear and concise no to Kohli, no matter how intricate the situation was.
Pant needs to become that strong mental character if he wishes to keep wickets for the country on a long-term basis. What we saw in the T20I series was more of childish exuberance than the cricketing brain doing the talking. We cannot grade MSD highly just because he's calm, but he certainly has the edge in this regard.
Even the great man in the past got some decisions going against his assessment, but the number of times he hit the bullseye is also worth taking a look. In the year 2017, seven out of the nine reviews he asked for proved that his vision was correct. The record while Dhoni is not in the middle has not been great, which reflects badly on Kohli's numbers.
Indian test side also has some players like Ravindra Jadeja, who is bound to get carried away with the moment more often than not, which doesn't make Pant or Kohli's job any easy.
What is the way out for India once Dhoni is officially out of the scenario?
Well, the team needs some composed figures, preferably behind the sticks to assist the skipper well - that's the simplest of solutions to make effective use of the available technology.
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