Brian Lara, speaking on Star Sports’ Cricket Connected, chose Rishabh Pant as his top contender to replace MS Dhoni, who recently retired from international cricket on August 15.

Lara analysed the three possible options to replace Dhoni for the long term in the Indian team across formats – KL Rahul, Sanju Samson and Pant. While he thinks that Rahul “should not be bothered” about wicketkeeping and needs to concentrate on his batting instead, Lara has his reservations about Samson’s ability to perform “against very good bowling on sporty tracks”.

But Pant, according to Lara, has moved on from his inconsistent self of the last year and is now a more responsible batsman, making him his number one contender to replace Dhoni.

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“Well, first of all I would like to say that KL Rahul should not be bothered with wicketkeeping when it comes to that Indian squad,” Lara said. “He’s such a great batsman that I feel that he should concentrate on that and put in a lot of runs on the board.

“Sanju Samson, who is not ’keeping for Rajasthan Royals, but I do understand that he keeps, that’s one of his main jobs – very classy player, looks good so far in the tournament in Sharjah. I feel there’s a little chink in his armoury in terms of his technique against very good bowling on sporty tracks.

“Rishabh Pant a year ago, I would say no, but I feel that he has stepped up in terms of his responsibility as a batsman. Look at how he plays for Delhi Capitals, it looks like he wants that responsibility, he wants that onus on him to score runs, build an innings and get big scores. If he continues that way, I think that he should the No. 1.”