Bengaluru: Former India opening batsman Gautam Gambhir has named the “apt” replacement for Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the Indian team when it comes to Twenty20 cricket. Also, Gambhir gave his views on whether Dhoni can return to the national team or not.

With the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2020) deferred till April 15 due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Dhoni’s wait for returning to cricket action has got longer.

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Dhoni has not played competitive cricket since July 2019 when India lost the ICC World Cup 2019 semi-final to New Zealand in England. After that he took a break from the game to serve in the Indian Army. Later, BCCI selectors did not pick him for national duty.

Speaking on Star Sports’ “Cricket Connected”, Gambhir felt Dhoni will find it difficult to make a comeback if IPL 2020 is not hosted due to coronavirus. Dhoni is the captain of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and last month he was in Chennai to attend an IPL preparatory camp.

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“If the IPL does not happen this year, then it will become very difficult for MS Dhoni to make a comeback. On what basis can he be selected since he's not been playing for the last one or one and a half years,” Gambhir, who is now a BJP MP, said.

Gambhir said KL Rahul is the “apt” replacement for Dhoni in T20Is. However he doesn’t find Rahul’s wicketkeeping skills as good as Dhoni’s.

“The apt replacement for Dhoni could be KL Rahul. Ever since he has donned the keeper's gloves in white-ball cricket, I've seen his performance, both batting and keeping. Obviously his keeping is not as good as Dhoni's, but if you are looking at T20 cricket, Rahul's a utility player, can keep and bat at No. 3 or 4.

"If the IPL does not happen, then MS Dhoni's chances for a comeback look dim. Ultimately, you are representing India, so whoever dishes out the best performance and can win the match for India should play for the team. As far as his retirement plans go by, that's his personal choice,” Gambhir said.

In recent times, Rahul has taken the big gloves for India in the limited-overs format. This move came after young Rishabh Pant failed to utilise his chances.