Lokesh Rahul (left) with Indian captain Virat Kohli at a practice session during the 2019 ICC World Cup. Image Credit: AFP

Mumbai: With M.S. Dhoni taking a sabbatical after the 2019 World Cup semi-final exit, India first tried Rishabh Pant behind the wicket before turning to K.L. Rahul to don the wicketkeeping gloves in the shorter formats of the game. Rahul has said that while he is always looking to improve, the boots of Dhoni are big to fill.

Speaking on a Star Sports show, Rahul 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. I am always in touch with wicketkeeping. I am also somebody who is more than willing to take up the role if the team needs me to.

“I was nervous when I was doing it for India because of the crowd pressure. If you fumble a ball, people feel that you cannot replace M.S. Dhoni. The pressure of replacing a legendary wicket-keeper like MSD was immense as it involved people accepting someone else behind the stumps.”

With the IPL postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, there have been quite a few debates on Dhoni’s future with an eye on the World T20 because head coach Ravi Shastri had earlier said that the IPL would decide if Dhoni will be a part of the team for the showpiece event.

“It all depends on when he starts playing and how he is playing during the IPL. What are the other people doing with the wicket-keeping gloves or what is the form of those players as opposed to Dhoni’s form. The IPL becomes a massive tournament because that could be the last tournament after which more or less your 15 is decided.

“There might be one player who might be there and thereabouts in case of an injury or whatever. But your team I would say would be known after the IPL. What I would say is rather than speculating of who is where, wait for the IPL to get over and then you are in a position to take a call on who are the best 17 in the country,” he had said.