"It's tough on Sanju Samson" - Murali Kartik following the keeper-batter's snub in second ODI against New Zealand

Northamptonshire v India - T20 Tour Match
Sanju Samson. (Image Credits: Getty)

Former Indian spinner Murali Kartik sympathized with keeper-batter Sanju Samson over his exclusion in the second ODI against New Zealand in Hamilton. The cricketer-turned-commentator believes the lack of batting all-rounders in India's top six is impeding Samson's selection.

After India's seven-wicket defeat in the first ODI in Auckland, they made two changes ahead of the second game. The tourists drafted in all-rounder Deepak Hooda for Samson and Deepak Chahar for Shardul Thakur. The decision prompted backlash among several former cricketers and fans.

Speaking on Prime Video, Murali Kartik opined that the lack of bowling options means Sanju Samson has been unable to get a continuous run in the side. Kartik reflected on the youngster's excellent performances against South Africa, but thinks it was fair for Hooda to play and said:

"You want bowling options, unfortunately for India, the top six that we have here, none of them bowl. And I said this before as well, it’s tough on Sanju Samson. We all keep talking about how good he is.
"He comes and gets a lovely score. He bats really well in the series against South Africa. Yes, the feeling is to keep him going and then that’s right. But now he misses out in spite of scoring runs in the previous game and you get Deepak Hooda to bowl, which is fine."

Samson missed out on the T20 World Cup 2022 squad, but performed well in the ODI series against South Africa at home, scoring 118 runs in three games. He also made a decent contribution in the first ODI against the Kiwis, notching up 36 runs to help push India past the 300-run mark.

"I know VVS Laxman has got a lot on his plate, he is a fair man" - Murali Kartik

VVS Laxman. (Image Credits: Getty)
VVS Laxman. (Image Credits: Getty)

Murali Kartik also felt that makeshift Indian head coach VVS Laxman is in a tough spot but has made fair calls so far, adding:

"If you are picking Hooda as a batter from the get-go and then getting him to bowl, that’s a different thing. But for him to come now and then the others to miss out..."

Kartik continued:

"Look, Shardul Thakur has been among the wickets. It’s a tough ask. I know VVS Laxman has got a lot on his plate, he is a fair man. With the squad of 14, this is what they have tried to do, given what happened in the previous game."

With the second game washed out, the Black Caps still lead the three-game series after their historic chase in the first ODI. The two sides will move to Christchurch for the final game of the tour on November 30.

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