The pressure to replace iconic Mahendra Singh Dhoni behind the stumps was “immense” due to high expectations from fans says K L Rahul, who has been doing the wicket-keeping duty for India in the limited-overs format for some time now.
Dhoni quit Test cricket in 2014 and has not played for India in the limited-overs format since last year’s ODI World Cup in England. Rahul kept the wickets in the limited-overs series against Australia in January this year and also during the team’s tour to New Zealand.
“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 wicket-keeper like MSD was immense as it involved people accepting someone else behind the stumps,” Rahul told Star Sports on its show ‘Cricket Connected’.
Rahul, who has played 32 ODIs and 42 T20Is, said keeping the wickets is not alien to him since he dons the gloves during the Indian Premier League (IPL) and also when he plays for his Ranji side Karnataka.
“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,” the 28-year-old said.
“I am always in touch with wicket-keeping but am also somebody who is more than willing to take up the role if the team needs me to,” he stressed.
Dhoni’s career is a matter of intense speculation. Many former players feel that it won’t be easy for Dhoni to make it to the national squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup, scheduled to be held in Australia.