India vs Bangladesh 2019, T20I series: 3 reasons why India should play Sanju Samson in place of Rishabh Pant
The Indian team is all set to face Bangladesh in the upcoming 3-match T20I series starting from November 3rd in Delhi. As expected, India will be going into the series with a number of senior players rested, which has opened up an opportunity for the likes of Sanju Samson and Shivam Dube to make a mark and seal their spot in the side ahead of the World T20 next year.
With Sanju Samson being included in the squad on the back of his spectacular show in the recently concluded Vijay Hazare Trophy, the speculations regarding India's next wicket-keeper have popped up again. However, Indian chief selector MSK Prasad once again stood his ground regarding Rishabh Pant's importance to the side and backed the youngster while addressing the media post the announcement of the squad for the series.
Even though Pant has a greater chance of donning the gloves in the series, Samson's inclusion in the playing XI can bring a lot to the table and here are the three reasons why Samson should be preferred ahead of Rishabh Pant in the playing XI.
#1 Samson's recent form
Sanju Samson made his international debut back in 2015 against Zimbabwe in a T20I, two years before Rishabh Pant made his first appearance for India. However, Samson's inconsistent performances in the IPL and in domestic cricket kept him out of selectors' radar for four years.
Yet, a decent run in the IPL 2019 with the Rajasthan Royals where he scored 342 runs at an average of 34.20 and a strike rate of 148.69 and an explosive 129-ball 212* for Kerala against Goa in the recently concluded Vijay Hazare Trophy brought him back into the contention for a spot in the national side.
Given Pant's below-par show against South Africa, the southpaw has been questioned for his approach in recent times, and with Samson enjoying a purple patch, the right-hander could be a wiser choice in India's chase of a series win.
#2 Better wicket-keeping skills and sound batting technique
Rishabh Pant's performance behind the stumps has always been under scanner. His inability to assist his skipper in DRS calls too has made things difficult for him. Even after being backed as the first choice 'keeper in the West Indies tour for all the three formats, Pant failed to impress both with the bat and the gloves, eventually losing his place to Wridhhiman Saha in the longest format against South Africa.
In terms of skill with the bat, Samson is a lot more composed as compared to Pant. He has the patience to watch out and assess the condition, gradually unwinding his explosiveness to contribute with a big knock. This also makes him a very good option at the top order as a specialist batsman, while his wicket-keeping skills too are at par with Pant to make him a strong contender for the wicket-keeper's slot in the playing XI.
The Men in Blue have been struggling to solve the No.4 puzzle for a long time. Samson has already proved himself with the bat and trying him in the upcoming T20I series at that crucial position may solve the long-lasting conundrum which has been haunting India for a few years now.
#3 Could bring about a healthy competition between Samson and Pant
Ever since his international debut, Rishabh Pant has been hailed as Mahendra Singh Dhoni's successor, more so in the T20 format. Even after being the selectors' first choice player to fill in Dhoni's position, Pant is yet to find form.
Considering that he was the lone player in the side who was to don the gloves, Pant did not have too much of a challenge to defend his place in the side, and now, the introduction of Sanju Samson as a contender for the wicket-keeper's slot will create a healthy competition between him and Pant.
This will not only provide an opportunity for Samson to prove himself at the international level, it will also force both Pant and Samson to improve their game and put their best foot forward to cement their place in the playing XI ahead of the 2020 World T20 tournament.