Recently Chairman of selectors, MSK Prasad, said that Dhoni was not an automatic choice on the squad anymore. He also said that if Dhoni’s doesn’t deliver as per expectations, they might have to look for alternatives. It seems that the upcoming 5-match One Day International series against Sri Lanka would serve as a good chance to see if Dhoni can still defy the drag of ageing. The next World Cup is in 2019, two years away, and by that time Dhoni would have aged close to 38. By all means, it is quite probable that MS Dhoni won’t find a place in the blues, and going by his current form, it is hard to even believe that he can still find a spot in the team when there is an easy replacement for everyone. Wriddhiman Saha from Bengal is one of the fittest cricketers in the business and he has proven to be competent with his skills behind the stumps. Virat Kohli-led team India recently thrashed Sri Lanka 3-0 in their own backyard. This is a team that is building up with the 2019 World Cup in mind. That is the reason why Virat Kohli is showing immense backing for the likes of Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav and Umesh Yadav, hence it is clear he has a forward thinking.

Saha’s growth: MS Dhoni sidelined himself from Test cricket in 2014 and in a span of 3 years, Saha has raised his game and has become a permanent fixture as the wicketkeeper in the whites. The way he kept the stumps in the Kandy Test just exemplifies his growth and confidence. MS Dhoni has always been a better batsman but with Pandya there to fulfil that role, is it not wiser to have a sound gloveman behind the stumps? This is something Virat will have to look at realistically.

Can be the big hitter: Saha has repeatedly shown that he has can play in all gears and believes in playing to the situation, as did Dhoni. Saha showed in IPL 2014 Finals that he could hit better than Chris Gayle if he was fired up. KXIP lost the match, but Saha showed what he was capable of in the shortest version of the game. He has also played many more memorable knocks which make him a serious contender to replace MS Dhoni.

Virat knows Saha is future: If Virat Kohli has already sensed that Wriddhiman Saha is the future, then why put up a wait and not invest in the player now? He has to take a few tough calls one feels, keeping 2019 World Cup in hindsight. Virat has been known to be someone who is pretty straightforward. If he sets the precedence here, the complications and as well as pressure off the field may not mount.

Calmness: This team is full of young blood, who are prone to making a few hasty decisions. Saha, with no biceps and tattoos, comes in as that figure – old fashioned, calm behind the stumps and motivated. He is the right balance Kohli needs in the team. If nurtured now, he could reap in multifold dividends later. A calmer Saha never forgets to credit MS Dhoni for his steep growth and climb.

Just for his fighting spirit: Be it Ashoke Dinda, Mohammad Shami or Wriddhiman Saha, they all hail from the rural hinterland of Bengal and don’t have just that in common. They are focused and hard working. They are not afraid of failures as they have seen enough of it when they struggled to climb the ladder. They will fall and come back stronger and Saha has shown that in his gritty, unattractive innings. But it’s the fighting spirit that makes Saha a strong contender to be in the playing XI in 2019.