“If cricket experts and veterans were expressing concern over Ravichandran Ashwin’s inclusion in the Indian squad for the three-match series against Australia, especially with the possibility of the senior all-rounder making it to the World Cup team due to Axar Patel’s injury, social media was abuzz with criticism directed at the BCCI. Many questioned the decision to overlook Sanju Samson, especially when four regular players were rested for the first two matches of the series.
Samson had been part of the Asia Cup squad, albeit as a traveling reserve, but he was sent home at the start of the Super Four stage and subsequently not considered for the Australia series. While fans sympathized with Samson, former India cricketer S Sreesanth, a member of India’s victorious 2011 World Cup squad, didn’t mince words, urging Samson to change his “attitude” and highlighting the intensifying competition for spots in the Indian team.”
Samson, who made his ODI debut in 2021, has played 13 matches for India to date. During his ODI career, he has scored a total of 390 runs at an impressive average of 55.71, including three half-centuries. The majority of his appearances, totaling 10 matches, occurred in 2022, where he accumulated 284 runs. One of his standout performances during that year was an unbeaten 86 against South Africa in Lucknow. However, in the current year, he has only managed to make two appearances, scoring 51 runs against West Indies in August.
Supporters on social media have expressed their doubts about India’s decision to include Suryakumar Yadav in the World Cup squad, given his relatively modest average of 25.52 in 28 matches since 2021. Meanwhile, young talent Tilak Varma has garnered backing for a spot in the squad from both experienced players and selectors, thanks to his impressive performance in the T20I series against West Indies, although he has not yet produced standout performances in ODIs.
However, Sreesanth, speaking with Sportskeeda, expressed his belief that the selection committee led by Ajit Agarkar made the correct decision in not including Samson in the World Cup squad. He encouraged his former Kerala teammate to heed the advice of cricket legends such as Ravi Shastri and Sunil Gavaskar, who have emphasized the importance of patience in his batting.
Sreesanth stated, “I think it’s the right decision because it’s very important for a player to understand himself. From Gavaskar to Ravi Shastri, everyone rates him highly. There’s no doubt about his ability. But the approach… he doesn’t listen when someone asks him to play according to the pitch. That attitude and approach he needs to change. When the legends of the game are telling you to read the wicket… take your time. That is why I keep telling him the same thing, even now when I meet him… read the wicket first and bat accordingly,” he explained.
The two-time World Cup champion elaborated on his point by highlighting the consistency displayed by players like Rishabh Pant throughout their careers, a trait that Samson has lacked despite leading the state team.
“We, Malayalis, who always support him, sometimes say he doesn’t get enough chances, but that’s not accurate. He has had regular opportunities against Ireland and Sri Lanka. He has been a part of the IPL for the past decade, now serving as captain, and has scored three centuries. However, he hasn’t demonstrated consistency. Look at Rishabh Pant. He has recorded several centuries for his state team,” he emphasized.
Sreesanth concluded with a stern warning to Samson, reminding him that India has two other wicketkeeping options available, both of whom have been assigned to Asian Games duty. Therefore, Samson should focus on scoring consistently, not just for India but also in the IPL, in order to secure his place in the national team.
Sanju, if you’re listening, you need to consistently score plenty of runs. Don’t believe that you aren’t being given opportunities; you are receiving them. You’re not a young player anymore. You’re not a 19-year-old; you’ll soon be 35. So, make the most of the time you have left this year. Your talent is unquestionable. There are many talented individuals emerging, and in the Asian Games, there are two competent wicketkeepers on the Indian team.
READ MORE SPORTS NEWS