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Kohli says Saha is the best wicketkeeper in the country. Where does that put Dhoni?

India Today logo India Today 05-10-2016

Virat Kohli on Monday showered praise on the gutsy Wriddhiman Saha, whose twin fifties in the Kolkata Test turned out to be crucial in India's 178-run series clinching victory over New Zealand. Saha had scored fifties in each innings to rescue India from dire straits in the second Test at the Eden Gardens. The 31-year-old was named Man of the Match for his efforts for the first time in his 17-match Test career.

Saha's wicket-keeping skills have also won him several admirers, with skipper Kohli calling him the "best in the country" at the moment.

"Saha is the best wicketkeeper in the country right now and he's doing a great job in Test cricket. Saha is wonderful behind the stumps and can bat. He backs himself to play his shots," Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

Full coverage: India vs New Zealand Series

Saha became India's Test wicketkeeper following Mahendra Singh Dhoni's sudden retirment from the longest format of the game in the middle of the Australia tour in 2014. He has been a regular since and has only grown in stature. Dhoni retired from Tests after playing 90 matches, scoring 4876 runs at 38.09. He scored six hudreds, including a double ton, and 33 fifties.

Dhoni finished his career at 294 dismissals (256 catches, 38 stumpings) - the fifth-highest behind Mark Boucher, Adam Gilchrist, Ian Healy and Rodney Marsh.

India have found a fine replacement for Dhoni in Saha. Not only is he scoring runs at crunch situations, his glovework is also brilliant and it has won him accolades even from former captain Sourav Ganguly.

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"Saha has been superb. He is someone who's only getting better. I think his knocks in this Test match will probably be one of his best," Ganguly told India Today.

"There was never a doubt about his glovework. The question in everbody's mind was that will he be able to play the role of a batsman? And I think he's come out with flying colours. The hundred in West Indies has given him a lot of self belief. He's averaging nearly 64 in Test matches in 2016, which is remarkable," Ganguly added.

DHONI'S SUCCESSOR IN LIMITED-OVERS TOO?

Now that Saha has proven himself in Test cricket, the team management would love to bring him back on board in coloured clothing once Dhoni makes his way out. Saha has played nine ODIs for India so far. Though the numbers are not that impressive but he's come a long way and has matured a lot as a cricketer since playing his last 50-over match, against Sri Lanka on November 9, 2014.

Dhoni gave up Test cricket to prolong his limited-overs career but his ability to finish off matches has taken a huge hit.

He last scored a fifty when he struck an unbeaten 92 to lead India to a 22-run win over South Africa in Indore last year. However, his form has dropped rapidly and he is without a half-century in eight innings now. He struck his last century three years ago. However, Dhoni still averages 51.25 in the format. 

Though Dhoni has never scored a fifty in T20Is, his inability to finish the game drew a lot of flak after he failed to score 8 runs off the last over on couple of occasions - vs Zimbabwe and West Indies - earlier this year.

The limited-overs captain will get a chance to set things right come October 16 when India take on New Zealand in a five-match series. He will definitely be under pressure during the series and will have to back himself with some good scores from his bat.

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