Rohit Sharma and Head coach Rahul Dravid have been handed the tricky task of finding the perfect team combination and assigning specific roles to players as India gear up for this year’s T20 World Cup, which is less than eight months away. The T20I series against West Indies was India’s first assignment in the build-up to the T20 showpiece event in Australia.
The recently-concluded home series saw young players like Ishan Kishan, Ravi Bishnoi and Avesh Khan raise their hand for a spot in the World Cup-bound Indian contingent.
India next take on Sri Lanka in a similar three-game rubber and Rishabh Pant’s absence from the series opens the door for Sanju Samson. While Ishan can double up as the wicketkeeper, Samson’s experience and attacking prowess makes him fit the team’s scheme of things.
Skipper Rohit Sharma has also underlined Samson’s abilities with the bat, saying the Kerala wicketkeeper-batter will be taken into consideration while selecting the T20 World Cup squad.
Samson’s last game in the national set-up was during the Sri Lanka tour in July where India played with a second-string team under Shikhar Dhawan. In 10 T20I games for India, Samson has notched up just 117 runs averaging 11.70 but with Rishabh Pant rested for the Sri Lanka assignment, Samson has been presented with an opportunity for revival.
“Samson has got talent man, whenever you see him bat in the IPL, he has produced that innings where everyone goes over the moon watching that innings, he has got the skillset to succeed. That is the whole point about the sport, a lot of people have skill and talent, how you utilise it is the most critical part,” said Rohit in a virtual press conference before the T20I series opener against Sri Lanka.
“It is now up to Sanju Samson how he wants to use that talent and maximise it because as team management, we see a lot of potential and a lot of talent in that individual. I hope we give him that confidence whenever he gets an opportunity.
“He is definitely into consideration and that is why he is part of the team. His backfoot play is superb. When you go to Australia, you need that shot-making ability, Samson has it in him. I just hope he utilises his potential,” he further added.
Earlier, chief selector Chetan Sharma had also said that Samson is in India’s scheme of things, further adding that the wicketkeeper-batter can be handy on Australian wickets.
“Sanju is in our scheme of things. Most importantly we have to see which is a cricketer who will be useful on Australian wickets. He is definitely in our scheme of things [for the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year],” Sharma had said while announcing India’s squad for the Sri Lanka T20Is and Test series as well.
Rohit Sharma identifies 3 ‘leaders’ in Team India barring Kohli
Rohit Sharma has said that grooming the next India captain is a natural process and he does not need to tell the three players too much as they are mature enough to take decisions on their own.
India captain Rohit Sharma has said that he does not need to give too much guidance to the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul as they are mature enough to take decisions on their own. The three players have been touted as candidates for becoming India’s long-term captain in the future.
“I won’t have that much of a role in telling them each and everything, they all are mature enough, it is just when someone needs to be there around them to guide them, I will be more than happy to do that. It is how we have come through the ranks, we were groomed by someone else. It is a natural process, everyone goes through this,” said Rohit during a virtual press conference on Wednesday.
“If you talk of Bumrah, KL Rahul and Pant, they have a big role to play in India’s success, they are looked upon as leaders as well. They do understand there is a responsibility on their shoulders, but we do not want to any pressure on them as they are critical for us. We just want them to enjoy the game and execute the skills,” he added.
Chetan Sharma, the Chairman of the Selection Committee, had last week said that the management is looking at Rohit to groom future leaders and he also spoke on how the right-handed batter is an ideal candidate to lead the side. Rohit was announced as India’s Test captain.
India face Sri Lanka in three T20Is starting on Thursday. Bumrah has been appointed vice-captain of the team for the series and the subsequent two Test matches as well. Pant was vice-captain when India recently faced the West Indies.