Opinion: Why Sanju Samson deserves to play ahead of Rishabh Pant
The inability of Rishabh Pant to convert a start into a big score was visible yet again as the southpaw gave away his wicket pretty cheaply after scoring 27 of 26 deliveries in the opening T20I against Bangladesh.
His dismissal at a crucial juncture of the game meant that India didn’t manage to put their foot on the gas and register a total beyond the 150 mark. Time and again, the 22-year-old has given away his wicket by playing reckless shots.
There is no doubt about the fact that he is still a raw youngster and will learn with experience, but it has been his carefree nature which has cost India quite a bit in recent times.
With two T20I World Cups coming up in the next two years, this will certainly test the patience of the selectors. With Sanju Samson waiting in the wings and raring to go, the selectors might move to him in a bid to provide solidity in the middle order.
Samson has looked in sensational form with the bat in the recent past and recently scored a double hundred in the Vijay Hazare Trophy against Goa. Over the years, his talent has never been questionable.
However, it has been the lack of consistency which has not made him a permanent member of the Indian squad. He played his one and only international match till date back in 2015 against Zimbabwe and has never made a return to the national team thereafter.
MSK Prasad has made his intentions clear of giving enough chances to Pant. However, Samson’s exceptional run with the bat in the recent past, especially in the shortest format has made things difficult for Pant.
Pant's shot selection has always come under the scanner. There's sense of immaturity which creeps into his game time and again, and this costed India the wicket of Shikhar Dhawan in the opening match.
The hosts even wasted a review on the insistence of Pant. On the other hand, Samson has shown maturity with the bat in the domestic format and has a sense of calmness about his batting which might work in his favour.
Ahead of the T20I series against Bangladesh, India's stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma had made it pretty clear that they will go with Pant as the main wicket-keeper for the series. However, he didn’t brush aside the idea of Samson playing as a premier batsman in the series.
Samson has been a reliable performer for the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL and has also smashed a couple of centuries in the tournament. His current form has been sublime and the team management might decide to give him another break in the 2nd and the must-win T20I against the Bangla Tigers.
The knock of 212 against Goa in the Vijay Hazare Trophy prompted the selectors to include him in the T20I squad. His magical double century included 21 fours and 10 sixes and oozed class and confidence.
On the contrary, Pant has been lacking the confidence which helped him made a name for himself in the shortest format of the game. His fearless approach which has made him a megastar in this format has proven to be his downfall in the international circuit.
The battle for a starting spot in the Indian team has been immense in recent times and the healthy competition between the two will also keep them on their toes.
However, the problem of plenty hasn’t necessarily yielded India the much-needed results in the shortest format. Too much experiment has led to some poor performances in the recent past. With the T20I World Cup slated to be played in Australia in less than a year’s time, the selectors have to decide on a certain pool of players and Samson should be in that pool without an iota of doubt.