T20 World Cup 2021: Is Suryakumar Yadav's selection over Sanju Samson justified?

Sanju Samson played one of the best innings in IPL 2021, hitting 119 and almost defeating Punjab Kings (PBKS) single-handedly.
Sanju Samson played one of the best innings in IPL 2021, hitting 119 and almost defeating Punjab Kings (PBKS) single-handedly.

There were a number of surprises when the Indian selectors announced the squad for the T20 World Cup 2021. While Ravichandran Ashwin made a comeback for the Indian white-ball side after four years, Rahul Chahar was preferred over Yuzvendra Chahal, who was in fine form in IPL 2021. The most debatable decision, however, was the non-inclusion of Rajasthan Royals (RR) skipper Sanju Samson in the Indian World Cup squad.

Mumbai Indians (MI) batter Suryakumar Yadav won the race against Samson to get into the India squad for T20 World Cup, despite the latter's terrific run in IPL 2021. However, was this decision justified?

Sanju Samson vs Suryakumar Yadav in IPL 2021

In his first year as captain of the Rajasthan Royals, Sanju Samson led from the front, scoring 484 runs in 14 matches. He hit a magnificent 119 against the Punjab Kings (PBKS) in the first half of IPL 2021 in India, but RR narrowly lost the game.

When @IamSanjuSamson scores 25 it is a melody. This century is a symphony. An absolute treat to watch from one of the most gifted players around.

Meanwhile, Suryakumar Yadav had a below-par IPL 2021 campaign, scoring just 317 runs in 14 matches at an average of 22.64. His form also contributed to MI's collective batting failures in IPL 2021.

Based on this evidence, it seems like a no-brainer on who should have been picked in the Indian squad. However, the problem for Sanju Samson lies much more beneath the surface.

Sanju Samson vs Suryakumar Yadav in India colors

Sanju Samson made his senior international debut during India's tour of Zimbabwe in 2015. He showed that he was naturally skilled for the game and seemed to have one extra second when compared to other batters while playing a shot. The wicketkeeper-batter was considered to be the successor of then-Indian captain MS Dhoni. However, Samson quickly realized the difference between playing for a franchise and representing his nation, with a billion expectations pinned on him. Despite his vast experience in domestic cricket, his temperament left a lot to be desired on the international scene.

He has played 10 T20Is for India so far, scoring just 117 runs at an average of 11.7 with a highest score of 27. He had a handful of opportunities to showcase his talent, but he failed to do so on the big stage.

During India's tour of Australia last year, the visitors were chasing stiff targets in the second and third T20Is. Both times when Samson walked in to bat, a platform was laid, and he had the master of chases, Virat Kohli, at the other end. But instead of taking a cue from the skipper, he threw his wicket away on both occasions, with India going on to lose one of those matches.

During the tour of Sri Lanka earlier this year, the Indian team were struck by COVID-19 cases. As a result, India were playing the T20I decider without eight of their main players. At the time, Samson was expected to don a leadership role and guide the other batters. But he failed to do so as he fell for a duck as India managed just 81. Sri Lanka won the game and clinched the series as a result. Samson came under huge criticism and it could have been a contributing factor behind his omission from India's T20 World Cup squad.

Sanju Samson might have played his last t20 for India…Needs to go back to domestic cricket and work on spin…Ian bishop should now at least stop hyping him watching ipl#INDvSL #IndvsSL

Suryakumar Yadav, however, showed greater promise when he donned the Indian colors. He was selected during England's tour of India earlier this year. Although he didn't get a chance to bat on his debut, he scored a fifty while batting for India for the first time and was awarded Man of the Match award in the fourth T20I.

In his three T20I innings so far, he has already outscored Samson, scoring 139 runs, including two fifties. Suryakumar's consistent performances in white-ball cricket inspired confidence in the selectors too, leading to his selection in the Test squad during India's recent tour of England.

Suryakumar Yadav has grabbed his opportunities with both hands, impressing his fans and selectors alike.
Suryakumar Yadav has grabbed his opportunities with both hands, impressing his fans and selectors alike.

ICC T20 World Cup 2021 team and their unchangable squad is out here.

Suryakumar Yadav didn't have the best of seasons in IPL 2021, but he scored 400-plus runs in the last three editions of the tournament. All these factors arguably pushed the case for his selection in the Indian World Cup squad.

What is next for Sanju Samson?

Sanju Samson is just 28 and he is still considered to be a natural leader. Many experts have touted Samson as the "next big thing" in Indian cricket. While his talent has never been in doubt, it is his temperament which has led to his downfall.

Australia, the next T20 World Cup host for the next edition of the T20 World Cup is just a year away and this snubbing might just prove to be the catalyst that makes him earn a place in next year's World Cup squad. While he did turn a new chapter with the bat in IPL 2021, one cannot help but notice that his career path has also followed the same trajectory as the Indian vice-captain, Rohit Sharma, who also failed to live to his potential for some years before arriving on the big stage eventually and dominating it till date.

Edited by Samya Majumdar
live poll LIVE POLL

Q. Will India miss Sanju Samson in the upcoming T20 World Cup?

Yes they might.

No chance

105 votes so far

Fetching more content...
App download animated image Get the free App now