Former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir has openly voiced his support for Sanju Samson as the wicket-keeper batsman for the Indian team and in his recent column for Times of India, the left-hander has asked Rishabh Pant to watch his back, especially because Samson has been scoring runs in the domestic setup.

India are all set to take on South Africa in the first of three T20Is and Gambhir predicts the hosts to be overwhelming favourites against an inexperienced Proteas. He also said that owing to the elevation of the ground, there will be plenty of boundaries in store and it will also present a great opportunity to the young Indian batting crew which includes Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey.

Pant factor and challenge from Samson

Rishabh Pant, India, West Indies, Ajinkya Rahane, ODI series
Rishabh PantPal Pillai/Getty Images for Nissan

"Hosts India will be licking their lips at the idea of taking on a young, work-in-progress opposition. Dharamshala is not a very big arena. And being at the higher altitude, the science guys tell me that the ball travels faster because the air is thin. All this means there will be plenty of boundaries if the pitch is good for batting. It is another opportunity for young Indian batsmen to cement their place in the side," Gambhir wrote in his column for Times of India.

He also spoke about Rishabh Pant and his exciting talent, but then quickly added that his favourite Sanju Samson was churning out runs to increase the pressure on Pant.

"Rishabh Pant is always exciting but he has to watch his back as my favourite Sanju Samson is throwing some serious challenges at him. It is an exciting series as there are a lot of individual battles going on considering the T20 World Cup next year," Gambhir observed.

Sanju Samson
Sanju SamsonIANS

These are indeed exciting times for India as they try to build a team for next year's World Cup. For long, the side has approached T20s much in the same way they would approach ODIs and this template needs an overhaul. Head coach Ravi Shastri did speak about this and how they needed to shake up the system and try out new players and give them a longer rope in the format.

"We have a splendid Test side that's stayed at the top of the rankings and needs to keep up that good work. In T20Is, we need to take a fresh perspective and consolidate on the fabulous talent we have," Shastri said immediately after his reappointment.