T20 WC: Play Samson ahead of Dube, suggests Manjrekar

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | June 06, 2024 IST

Sanju Samson

New Delhi, June 6: Sanju Samson has shown a lot of maturity as a batter and keeper in recent years. He has been a key performer for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL in last couple of editions. He has been a good leader too for the Rajasthan franchise.

His maturity, skills and experience certainly puts him in contention for a berth in India's playing XI in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024, opine several former players and cricket experts.

Former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar has weighed in on the ongoing debate about Sanju Samson’s place in the Indian playing XI. Despite Samson’s exclusion from the starting XI for India’s T20 World Cup opener against Ireland, Manjrekar believes the wicketkeeper-batter has shown significant maturity and deserves a chance to showcase his talent on the world stage. 

Manjrekar suggested that Samson could be an ideal replacement for Shivam Dube if the latter is not utilised for his bowling. "Absolutely right (Sanju should play as the better, if Dube isn't going to bowl). I believe Sanju Samson has finally matured and this is the best Sanju Samson that India will get at the international level,” Manjrekar told ESPNcricinfo.

Echoing Manjrekar’s sentiments, former Zimbabwean cricketer Andy Flower also supported the idea of Samson featuring in the Indian XI. Flower emphasised that Samson's batting prowess could provide India with a crucial edge, especially against formidable opponents like Pakistan.

"I don't think India are going to use much of Dube's bowling. So if it's a straight shootout for batting class, you might want to judge what the matchups are against the opposition bowlers, could Dube's ability to hit spin match up well against whatever opposition, or you need a greater skill-set like Sanju has got? He plays the ball late, got beautiful timing, and can play the pull shot, that could be deemed a better technique to use against Pakistan."

Despite his recent form in the IPL 2024, where he finished as the second-highest run-getter for Rajasthan Royals with 531 runs in 15 innings, Samson failed to capitalise on his opportunity in the T20 World Cup warm-up match against Bangladesh, scoring just a single run off six balls. This performance has seemingly impacted his standing within the team.

"That first warm-up game has done a bit of damage to Sanju Samson," Manjrekar said. Initially, Manjrekar had Samson at No. 3 in his preferred playing XI, but the keeper-batter's failure to perform has made his selection more uncertain. Manjrekar also highlighted Rishabh Pant’s superiority as a wicketkeeper, pointing out that Pant's skills with the gloves and his left-handed batting bring more balance and variety to the team.

"On pure keeping, Rishabh Pant is the better keeper. Let's accept that because Rishabh Pant is your Test keeper and Sanju Samson has never been in contention to take that spot. That first warm-up game has done a bit of damage to Sanju Samson. He was my No. 3, to begin with. I had Rishabh Pant down at No. 5. But Sanju Samson struggled a bit short. That is what happens when you are a fringe player and get small opportunities,” Manjrekar added.

Pant, batting at no. 3, played a crucial role in India's victory over Ireland, remaining unbeaten on 36 as Men in Blue chased down a 97-run target in 12.2 overs to secure an eight-wicket win.

Flower underscored the importance of Pant’s southpaw ability in providing variety to India’s batting line-up. "Having that balance and variety in your order is important," Flower noted. He also mentioned that if Yashasvi Jaiswal isn’t included, having Pant at three could be a strategic move.

Team India management may play either Sanju or Shivam depending on the conditions, opposition and surface. Though both are good players and are big hitters, but from technique and skill-set point of view definitely Sanju Samson is a better option. (With IANS support) 

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  • T20 World Cup 2024

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