Consistent performances at the domestic level has led to calls for the inclusion of Kerala wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson in the Indian team. Well, it's likely that this wish would be fulfilled as Samson seems on his way to enter the Indian squad for the upcoming T20I series against West Indies.
News agency ANI quoted an anonymous source within Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) saying that due to the injury to Shikhar Dhawan, Sanju Samson may be brought in to the squad.
"Samson might be included in the squad as a replacement of Dhawan. Dhawan got operated on his knee, depending upon his medical status report, the final call will be taken," the source revealed.
After the World Cup, Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been away from the game. It was expected that Rishabh Pant, India's wicketkeeper in Tests, would be groomed as Dhoni's replacement in limited-overs cricket. However, the script hasn't played out as per expectations. Pant hasn't lived up to the hopes of fans and his team.
In the meanwhile, Samson has been plundering runs in domestic cricket. He also had a good season in Indian Premier League (IPL). In fact, former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir went to the extent of describing Samson as the best keeper-batsman in India. This caused a great furore as fans of Mahendra Singh Dhoni attacked Gambhir for indirectly demeaning the former India captain.
If Samson comes into the Indian team, there is a great possibility that he may replace Pant in the playing XI. If that happens, then Pant is in serious trouble. The latter is considered as lacking in his wicket-keeping abilities and was praised mainly for his batting.
However, with his batting also not producing the kind of results expected, and less than a year to go for the World T20, selectors are bound to look elsewhere. This is where Samson has a great opportunity. He may well get into the team as only a batsman. Still, if he gets runs, Pant will have to ramp up his performances, otherwise, he may be on his way out.
However, a lot would also depend upon the performances in the IPL. It would be the T20 league that will determine who gets top billing for the role of India's wicketkeeper-batsman in the World T20 tournament.
Of course, there is also a possibility of both Pant and Samson playing in the same XI. Both are exciting young batsmen and they have a good claim to a spot in the batting order simply on the basis of their batting talent. Let's see how the future pans out for these two.