Following their comfortable series win over the West Indies in the ICC World Test Championship (WTC), Rohit Sharma’s Team India is now shifting their focus to the forthcoming 50-over World Cup. They will be facing the hosts in a five-match One Day International (ODI) series. While KL Rahul is still working on his match fitness and Rishabh Pant is anticipated to miss the entire 2023 season, wicketkeeper-batter Sanju Samson has been included in India’s star-studded squad for the upcoming ODI series against the West Indies.
The Indian management had initially selected Samson and the in-form Ishan Kishan as the two wicketkeepers for the West Indies series. With several key players already absent, power-hitter Samson is expected to play for India in the bilateral series against the West Indies. Interestingly, wicketkeeper Samson can also bat higher up the order as a specialist batter if Kishan takes on the wicketkeeping duties for the visitors in the ODIs.
However, Kishan and Samson will continue to compete for the wicketkeeper role in the World Cup year. Senior batter Dinesh Karthik, speaking to Cricbuzz about India’s ODI playing XI, explained why Kishan has the upper hand over Samson. Backing the power-hitter, Karthik even suggested that the young wicketkeeper-batter could serve as India’s reserve backup opener this season. “There is a chance that either Ishan Kishan or Sanju Samson could be the choice for the second wicket-keeper. Ishan Kishan is slightly ahead because India lacks left-handers. So, there is a great chance that he could be up there. He would also be the reserve backup opener,” Karthik said.
Samson, one of the two wicketkeepers named in India’s squad for the West Indies series, has played only 11 matches in the 50-over format for the Asian giants. His last ODI appearance for India was in 2022 against New Zealand. On the other hand, Samson’s teammate Kishan is heading to the ODI series against the West Indies after smashing his maiden half-century in the 2nd Test. Kishan received his maiden Test cap in the recently concluded red-ball series between the hosts West Indies and India. Kishan has represented the Men In Blue in 2 Tests, 14 ODIs, and 27 T20Is. Rohit’s Team India will face the West Indies in the 1st ODI at the Kensington Oval on Thursday.