Former Indian captain and head coach, Anil Kumble, on Monday reckoned that India should go with Sanju Samson if team management opt to look at options other than MS Dhoni. The latter has been absent from international cricket since World Cup 2019 and has not been named in the impending T20I series against Sri Lanka next year.
In the absence of Dhoni over the last couple of limited-overs series, all played at home, the management opted Rishabh Pant as the sole wicketkeeping option. But with faltering performance of the youngster, both with the gloves and with the bat, Samson was introduced as the back-up option although India have not introduced him into the playing XI over Pant. Meanwhile, the return of Dhoni and his presence in India's World T20 squad for 2020 is still a huge mystery.
Kumble feels that the entire decision rests on how Dhoni goes about in IPL 2020 and if the Indian team management "believes that they need his services for the World Cup".
"We felt that there would be some sort of communication coming around but then he obviously decided to take a break from international cricket. It all goes about how MS goes about the IPL and if at all the Indian team believes that they need this services for the World Cup then from there on he may be a part of the team. But we will have to wait and see," Kumble told Cricket Next. "The other options that India certainly need to look towards is Sanju Samson. He has been a brilliant batsman we all know that. We have seen what kind of a talent he is. He is really good behind the stumps."
Kumble also took the name of Ishan Kishan and KL Rahul as other options with more stress on the latter given his impressive form in the T20 format. But Kumble urges the management to set the combination right away and give him time to settle in before trvelling to Australia for the tournament.
"Ishan Kishan is the other option, but KL Rahul is someone that India may look to also use. Because he is pretty safe in T20 format. He is good, he has kept wickets for Karnataka. And we know the quality that he brings to white ball cricket as a batsman so yes that is a very good option. But whatever option India take. I think it is important to freeze on that for at least 10-12 matches prior to the World Cup. Because you want that combination, and you want those specific roles to be identified much prior before going into an Australian World Cup," he added.
Kumble was also asked about his favourite Indian cricketer in 2019 and he named Rohit Sharma, who finished the year as the highest run-getter in ODIs and finished second in terms of international runs. Rohit also had a phenomenal World Cup campiagn, scoring 648 runs laced with record six centuries.
"I think one person stands out Rohit Sharma has had a fantastic season. In the World Cup to have five hundreds. Then a double hundred in a Test match as an opener against South Africa. He has come back into the Test match as an opener is something that has changed the way Rohit is looked at. His leadership role whenever he has got the opportunity to lead India in the absence of Virat Kohli. So, I think this year you have to give it to Rohit Sharma and nobody else," Kumble explained.