The jury is still out on whether MS Dhoni should be a part of 2019 ICC cricket World Cup squad but former India cricketer Virender Sehwag strongly feels that the Indian team is "yet to find suitable replacement" for the iconic wicketkeeper-batsman. "I don't think anyone can replace Dhoni at this point of time. Rishabh Pant is good but he would also need time to replace him. But that can only happen after 2019. Its then when we should think about Dhoni's replacement. Till then let Pant gain experience," Sehwag told PTI. He added that the experience Dhoni brings to the table is invaluable. "We should not worry about whether Dhoni is scoring runs or not. We should only pray that MS Dhoni is fit till 2019 World Cup. The experience that he has in the middle and the lower middle order, no one has that," he said.
Dhoni produced two classic knocks in the ongoing ODI series against Sri Lanka to silence his doubters.
He and Bhuvneshwar Kumar anchored India's chase in the 2nd ODI after a stunning batting collapse as the visitors edged past Sri Lanka by three wickets. Dhoni, who scored 45, then put on an unbeaten 100-run stand with Kumar, who made 53, to steer the team home in 44.2 overs and take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
The ice-cool Dhoni kept the chase on track with the gutsy Kumar. While Dhoni kept picking the singles and twos, Kumar was happy playing second fiddle before unleashing his power and register his maiden ODI fifty.
The former India captain followed this up with another sterling knock in the 3rd ODI. The visitors rode on an unbeaten 157-run fifth-wicket stand between Rohit Sharma and Dhoni, who made 67, to clinch the series.
Apart from delivering with the bat when it mattered, Dhoni has been consistent with his glovework behind the stumps.
A strong show in the first three ODI has helped Dhoni equal two major cricket records. Ahead of the second ODI against Sri Lanka, Dhoni had 98 stumping to his name, one behind Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara. He equalled the Sri Lankan at 99 when he claimed the scalp of Danushka Gunathilaka off leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal.
With two ODIs remaining, Dhoni needs just one stumping to become the first wicketkeeper in ODI history to reach the 100-mark.
Dhoni has now 72 not outs on his ODI resume, on level with Shaun Pollock and Chaminda Vaas for the most ODI not outs.
(With inputs from agencies)