Author: Ashok Kumar Shaw
Sanju Samson made his debut for India in the Harare T20I in July 2015. He played his next T20I in Jan 2020, close to five years later. Will Samson have to wait for another five years to play his next match for India?
Samson was lucky to play for India for the second time in the Pune T20I against Sri Lanka after being selected for one squad, dropped for another and chosen for the third. His omission from the first squad despite not playing a game was criticized by all and he was promptly brought into the squad for the second series. But he still didn’t get a game.
But his lucky finally smiled in the Pune T20I in the third squad.
But throughout this journey for his second T20I, it was clear that India do not look at him as first-choice keeper-batsman. Rishabh Pant continues to be backed despite inconsistent performances with bat and gloves.
Pant is also keeping MS Dhoni away as India coach Ravi Shastri recently said MSD will have to prove his form in IPL to get a berth in 2020 World T20.
So, what’s ailing Samson’s stop-start entry in international cricket over 2 T20Is? Will he play his third T20I anytime soon?
Flamboyance over form?
Samson is the in-form batsman for India currently. He recently struck a double ton in List A cricket and re-earned his India cap. But he was made to warm the benches as Virat Kohli and the team management chose Pant over Samson or flamboyance over form.
Samson is still in reckoning but his chances to prove his worth will be few and far between as Pant will remain the first choice keeper for India.
KL Rahul acts as a backup option
In the Wankhede ODI against Australia, KL Rahul kept wickets as Pant got injured while batting. With Rahul making his spot permanent in the limited-overs side, a third keeper in Samson will be bit of luxury for Team India. Hence, Samson may have to wait for his chance for long.
Dhoni still looming around?
Dhoni has not been ruled out completely for the 2020 World T20. Shastri has said if Dhoni has a good IPL, he will be back in the reckoning for the World T20. Hence, Samson has to fight for a place not only with Pant, but also with Dhoni, who has taken a long break from cricket since the 2019 World Cup. If Samson does well in IPL too, he can make the competition lively for the sole keeper’s slot in World T20.
Verdict: Samson may have to bounce back with few tall scores in the domestic cricket or IPL to keep Pant and Dhoni on their toes.
Cover image credits: Times Now