Mumbai: Coming in as a replacement for injured opener Shikhar Dhawan, Kerala’s batsman, Sanju Samson is eager to prove his worth with the bat as well as the gloves, when West Indies take on hosts, India for a three-match T20I and ODI series, starting from December 6.
Samson, who finally got a chance to feature in the playing XI after India’s limited-overs opener Shikhar Dhawan got injured, will be playing his second T20I match, after having made his debut in the shortest format against Zimbabwe in 2015.
The 25-year-old cricketer, who was picked for the T20I series, was benched during the T20I series against Bangladesh. After Samson was benched by the team management for the entire series, the fans got infuriated.
Since Sanju Samson got benched, India’s former veterans, Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh criticised the selectors and team management for not including the Rajasthan Royals batsman, despite having performed brilliantly for Kerala.
During the 2019 Vijay Hazare tournament games, the Kerala-born player amassed 379 runs in the six games, in which he featured. Samson also smashed his maiden and the highest-ever score in his List A career.
The right-handed cricketer hit an unbeaten 212 runs off just 129 deliveries against Goa. With this score, Samson also became the first-ever player to slam the highest-ever List A score by a wicketkeeper in a match. Samson’s 212 is also the third top List A score in India and the fourth by an Indian.
Following Samson’s brilliant stint with Kerala, several cricketers like Rahul Dravid, Gautam Gambhir and Harbhajan Singh lauded the Indian cricketer for his excellent display with the bat and bowl. Former Indian Cricketer Sunil Gavaskar also stated that if India need an alternative for Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson is the right person to replace him.
"If I need to have an alternate option, then I will think of Sanju Samson because Sanju is a good keeper as well as a good batsman," Gavaskar told India Today.
With Pant having failed miserably, Samson could seal his place for the wicket-keeper batsman position. Rishabh Pant, who was touted to be Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s suitable replacement, has failed to perform with the bat and gloves.
Moreover, Pant was dropped from the Test squad during the series against South Africa. Now, with Sanju Samson’s is in fray to replace to the 22-year-old misfiring cricketer, provided the Kerala paleyr continues his phenomenal run with the bat as well as with the gloves.
Ahead of the T20I series against West Indies, Samson has stated that he can do the role of a keeper if the team management asks him to do so.
“I have been keeping wickets in white-ball cricket for Kerala for the last five or six years and have also kept in the Ranji Trophy format. I keep that as an open thing. Whatever my team requires, I do it accordingly,” Samson stated.
The 25-year-old has disclosed that he is training pretty hard to perform the roles of a keeper and as well as a fielder. Samson also emphasised that his main focus will always lies on the team management’s demand.
Samson was quoted by TimesNow as saying, “In the IPL, whenever my team wanted me to keep I did. But they at the time felt I could contribute more on the field, so I did that. I prepare for myself both as a keeper and fielder because you never know what the team is looking at.”
“I can’t explain every time to everyone what is happening in the team management. I am a keeper and when my team wants me to keep, I do that and when they ask me to field I do that. I can’t tell the team what I want to do right? The team is the priority,” Samson concluded.