Lots of buzz can be seen around a particular player and the buzz has been there for quite a while now. It is Sanju Samson – the Kerala-born wicketkeeper-batsman. Many former and current players are seen supporting this 28-year-old wk-batsman. The fans are also accusing the national selectors of ruining his years that can benefit the Indian team.
Samson was handed his limited overs cap way back in 2015. Since then, he has been on and off with the team. Players like Rishabh Pant and Ishan Kishan, who made their debut after Samson, have played more international matches than him. In this blog, we will try to explore the reasons why the Indian selectors should give enough chance to Sanju Samson before they announce the 2023 World Cup squad.
It is Time to Settle the Middle Order Conundrum
It is without an iota of doubt that if Sanju Samson plays for India, he will do so in the middle order. There are multiple candidates for the opening slots. Currently, India is trying out one of the most trusted opening pairs in Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan. In case either of them gets dropped, players like Shubman Gill, KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan and Rishabh Pant will be available to open for India.
It is however not the same with India’s middle order. Usually, players like Shreyas Iyer, K L Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Surya Kumar Yadav and Deepak Hooda are being rotated in the middle order. Sometimes these rotations have bore fruit and sometimes not. With less than a year to go for the 50-over ICC Cricket World Cup, it is high time the selectors identify a set of players who can play in what order. If this happens, Samson can become an ideal No.5 candidate. He can adjust his batting according to the situation which can prove to be crucial for the batters to follow in crunch and important matches.
The “Pant” Factor
Selectors have always highly regarded Rishabh Pant due to his flamboyance and fearless approach. Also, being a left-hander, Pant adds another dimension to the Indian batting lineup. He possesses the ability to start attacking from his 1st ball and in certain situations, this approach helps.
He has proved his mettle in the red-ball format but is far from doing anything substantial in white-ball cricket (except his match-winning century against England in the final ODI, 2022). If this factor is kept in mind, then the selectors should start looking toward Sanju Samson. He also possesses all the qualities of a modern-day batsman and is pretty reliable behind the stumps. Samson showed that he has a calm head over his shoulders during an ODI game against South Africa where he almost took the game away from the opposition in a difficult run chase.
India has now lost in 3 consecutive multi-team events – the 2021 T20 World Cup, 2022 Asia Cup and 2022 T20 World Cup. It was visible from these failures that India needs to change their playing approach. If the road they wish to take is an aggressive one, then Sanju Samson fits perfectly in the scheme of things. It is important to give Samson an extended run so that he can play his natural game without any stress. The selectors need to understand they did the same thing with Surya Kumar Yadav for 2-3 years. Now another sterling match-winner should not go through what SKY had to go through.