Sanju Samson gets his due, accidentally though

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Kolkata: With injury ruling left-handed opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan out of the T20 series against West Indies, Kerala wicketkeeper Sanju Samson has been drafted into the Indian side in the Delhi batsman’s place. Dhawan who has been in poor form of late, was lucky enough to get into the team at the expense of a deserving Samson when it was announced a few days back. Perhaps, the southpaw’s experience got him the nod ahead of Samson.

But Samson’s initial exclusion from the teams for the ODI and T20 series had drawn flak from experts and former cricketers and as luck would have it, the talented wicketkeeper-batsman who has been among runs at the domestic level, has got a chance to prove his worth.

In fact, Samson missed out on a place in the playing XI in the three-match T20 outing against Bangladesh that raised eyebrows. Out-of-form Rishabh Pant continued to don the gloves despite a dismal show both with the bat and behind the stumps.

Samson has been a revelation since he emerged on the scene years back but the sad part is that he managed to don the India colours in only one T20 International way back in 2015. Since then, he has been ignored by the selectors as well as the team management.

Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor, himself a keen observer of the game had questioned the selectors’ move to leave out Samson for the ODIs and T20s against West Indies. He tweeted, “Very disappointed to see @IamSanjuSamson dropped without a chance. He carried the drinks for three T20Is & has been promptly discarded. Are they testing his batting or his heart?”

In fact so miffed was former Indian cricketer Harbhajan Singh at the treatment meted out to Samson that he even went to the extent of urging BCCI president Sourav Ganguly to sack the current panel of selectors.

Samson has been a revelation since he emerged on the scene years back but the sad part is that he managed to don the India colours in only one T20 International way back in 2015. Since then, he has been ignored by the selectors as well as the team management.

And he has also set his eyes on the T20 World Cup in Australia. “The dream is to win the World T20 for India in Australia. I am training for that, not to be a part of the team. I want to win the World Cup for my country and that is the standard I set for myself and that is how I plan my work ethics. Definitely the dream is to win the trophy as it has been a while since we won one and I would definitely want to have some quality contributions in the process. That is the dream and I am working towards it,” he added.

Now, will this be a blessing in disguise for Samson? “I like to keep things as simple as possible and when I get the opportunity I look to score big. If I get five innings, I want to score big in one or two innings and win matches for my team. Consistency in my innings won’t win matches for my team. It is more important to play an outstanding innings to win my team games. I go behind that kind of idea,” Samson told IANS after his name was announced as Dhawan’s replacement. He added that he would like to use this opportunity to sit and talk with skipper Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri on the future.

And he has also set his eyes on the T20 World Cup in Australia. “The dream is to win the World T20 for India in Australia. I am training for that, not to be a part of the team. I want to win the World Cup for my country and that is the standard I set for myself and that is how I plan my work ethics. Definitely the dream is to win the trophy as it has been a while since we won one and I would definitely want to have some quality contributions in the process. That is the dream and I am working towards it,” he added.

It will be interesting to note, if he is preferred over Pant. With the T20 World Cup in mind, Samson deserves to get a look-in against the Windies. With Pant struggling to touch form and uncertainty shrouding MS Dhoni’s comeback, a replacement in Samson would rid Kohli and Shastri of a lot of worries. Of course, Samson given an opportunity will have to justify his place in the team. But as things stand now, yeh hi hai right choice!

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