Not long ago during South Africa’s tour of India in October for the ODI series were there rumours of Sanju Samson being the next vice-captain of the Indian side. However, in less than 60 days from the start of the ODI series against South Africa, Samson has gone from ‘So-called Vice Captain’ to warming the bench. In the latest snub of events, Samson has been dropped from the Indian side for the second ODI against New Zealand in Hamilton. So, what is wrong with Samson and his selection in the Indian team?
In the bigger picture, the 28-year-old batter is a utility alternative for Team India as he can keep wickets and is handy with the bat. Samson’s last five ODI innings have yielded him 169 runs with an average of 84.50, which represents a commendable figure for him to feature in the team. His best score of 86 also makes for good reading.
On the flip side, he provides the backup option of a wicketkeeper and was instrumental for India A in September when they beat New Zealand A in the unofficial series. Samson was the skipper of the side during that period and his excellent form had taunted the selectors to just not select him as a player but also as the vice-captain of the side with the majority core of the senior players involved in the T20 World Cup in Australia.
However, in turn of events, Samson was not handed the vice-captaincy, instead, it was Shreyas Iyer who was the deputy under Shikhar Dhawan.
In August head coach Rahul Dravid said in a statement that Samson is still in the conversation for the T20 World Cup spot despite him not getting selected for the Asia Cup 2022. However, the latest events have not been encouraging signs for the Kerala batter with the ODI World Cup just around the corner.
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Rishabh Pant on the flip side has 214 runs in his last five innings played and includes an unbeaten hundred against England. He also scored a duck in those five innings, but according to the team, management is a better suit for the ODI team.
So, with less than a year to go, it will be interesting to see what the future holds for Sanju Samson. He still has a lot of cricket left in him, but for the time being, warming the bench remains the only task for the Rajasthan Royals captain.