KL Rahul speaks on pressure of replacing 'legendary' MS Dhoni
'The pressure of replacing a legendary wicketkeeper like MSD (MS Dhoni) was immense as it involved people accepting someone else behind the stumps,' said KL Rahul
Bengaluru: Young wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant’s failures forced India to push KL Rahul to the stumper’s role and he did not disappoint. However, the man himself has now admitted that he was “nervous” and felt “immense” pressure as he was replacing the “legendary” MS Dhoni behind the stumps.
During India’s tour to New Zealand earlier this year, Rahul kept wickets in all eight matches (five T20Is and three ODIs). India blanked the Kiwis 5-0 in the T20I rubber while the hosts returned the favour with a 3-0 whitewash in ODIs. Earlier, Rahul had kept wickets in the home ODIs against Australia in January this year.
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The 28-year-old Rahul is a part time wicketkeeper and had the experience of keeping for his state side Karnataka and also in the Indian Premier League (IPL). He took up the big gloves for Team India and that did not affect his batting. He made 88 not out and 112 against the Kiwis in the three-match ODI series in February.
Now, speaking on Star Sports’ “Cricket Connected” show, Rahul revealed that he was feeling pressure taking Dhoni’s place behind the stumps.
“I was nervous when I was doing it for India because of the crowd pressure. If you fumble, people feel that you cannot replace MS Dhoni. The pressure of replacing a legendary wicketkeeper like MSD was immense as it involved people accepting someone else behind the stumps,” Rahul, who has played 36 Tests, 32 ODIs and 42 T20Is, said.
“People who follow cricket know that I haven't been away from wicket-keeping for too long as I donned the gloves in the IPL and every time I played for Karnataka,” he added.
Rahul said he was ready to take up wicketkeeping for team’s cause. “I am always in touch with wicketkeeping but am also somebody who is more than willing to take up the role if the team needs me to.”
Recently, former India opening batsman Gautam Gambhir had described Rahul as “apt replacement” for Dhoni, who has not played for India since the ICC World Cup 2019 in England in July last year.