Former India opener Abhinav Mukund questioned Team India’s decision to send Sanju Samson at No. 3 in the second ODI against West Indies in Barbados on Saturday (July 29).
After winning the first ODI earlier in the week, the visitors decided to do a bit of experiment with their playing XI in the second ODI. They rested two senior-most players Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, and included Samson and Akshar Patel in the line-up.
However, both Samson and Akshar failed to grab the opportunities while batting at No. 3 and No. 4 respectively.
Samson scored 9 off 19 balls before he was dismissed by leg-spinner Yannick Carriah. On the other hand, Akshar made 1 off 8 balls.
Speaking to JioCinema, Mukund said: “He (Samson) faced 19 balls, you can’t read too much into that innings. And he is batting at No. 3, a spot that he possibly won’t get in the next 2 or 3 years. I don’t understand where the Indian team sees Sanju Samson.”
“I believe they should see Samson as a batter. You can fit him in as a keeper later on, but he is a batter primarily. I feel he warrants more chances than the chances that he has had. If he does get it, it should be in a position he is comfortable batting at – maybe No. 4 or No. 5.
“You can try him if Shreyas Iyer isn’t fit. That’s where I thought they would come from. I thought they would send Suryakumar Yadav at No. 3 and Samson at No. 4 because Shreyas Iyer is the man in question. They want a left-right combination, but that didn’t work today,” he explained.
Earlier this year, Sanju Samson sustained a knee injury and missed the white-ball series against Sri Lanka and New Zealand. Before this game, his last ODI appearance was against New Zealand in November 2022.
“Unfortunately, this is a question that has been raised against Sanju, his problems against leg-spinner. He got out today against leg-spin. That’s a separate issue,” Mukund said.
“12 innings and he last played on the 19th of May. Two months later, if you are going to put him in a selection shoot-out, it’s a bit unfair,” he added.
Samson’s ODI career has been marked by sporadic opportunities. He has played 12 ODIs thus far, scoring 339 runs at an average of 56.50 with a strike rate of 101.50.