Sanju Samson's coach opines why he thinks Rishabh Pant has got more chances

Pant is considered Samson's competitor for the first-choice wicketkeeper's slot in India's T20I side.

Sanju Samson | AFP

Sanju Samson's coach Biju George opined why he thinks opportunities in the T20I side for India have been rare for his ward despite his comeback late last year on the back of quality domestic and IPL performances. 

Samson, who is fighting for the first-choice wicketkeeper's slot, didn't get to play against Bangladesh and sat out the West Indies series as well after being added in the squad following an injury to Shikhar Dhawan. 

Read Also: Irfan Pathan feels Rishabh Pant needs ‘a little kick on the back’ to get going

He did get three chances, but those were spread across two different series, one at home against Sri Lanka and then two on the tour of New Zealand earlier this year, which he couldn't capitalise on. 

But what remains the biggest hurdle in Samson's way is the competition in the set-up, especially that with Rishabh Pant, whom his coach George says is being prefered over by the team management because he offers them a left-hand batting option in the middle-order. 

"If you ask me as a person who is close to Sanju, I would say he should have got more chances. But if you look at the Indian team’s point of view - why they are giving Rishabh Pant so many chances? First, he is a left-hander, obviously. Second, Indian team strategies," George told the Times of India

"They might have the (T20) World Cup in mind, where they might come up against a team which has got quality left-arm spinners or leg spinners, or a left-arm fast bowler, and that time Pant will be useful. This is my opinion. That’s up to the team, captain and coach to take the decision."

"That the chief selector should decide who is the best suitable to be in the team against an opposition - Pant or Sanju? I don’t think this is coming out deliberately not to give anybody a chance," he added. 

While Pant himself is facing competition from KL Rahul, who donned the gloves and opened against the Kiwis before the COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to a halt, George, on Samson, thinks the team management and the selectors should be clearer with their thought process when it comes to the Kerala right-hander. 

"As you go up the hierarchy in the cricketing ladder, so many difficulties come. It is a very difficult process to filter out, which actually suits you, which doesn’t suit you. Sanju is a guy, if you watch all his innings, he’s a guy who relies on timing. He is not a player who will be smashing the ball, he will be timing the ball. That’s what makes Sanju stand apart," he further said. 

"If you see his IPL and domestic innings, you will see he times the ball so perfectly. Last season, when he scored a century against Sunrisers Hyderabad, he timed most of the shots through covers. When he came to the Indian side, somebody told him that you have to be hitting the ball. When he started hitting the ball, he started losing his shape."

“Whenever we met this year, we go on long drives, we do long chats and we decided that his focus should be on holding the shape, timing the ball and hitting it straight, nothing else. And dominate. I am confident that you will see a different Sanju in the coming season. He will dazzle in domestic, IPL as well as international," George concluded. 


By Kashish Chadha - 31 Jul, 2020

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