Sanju Samson vs Rishabh Pant In Indian Playing XI For T20 World Cup 2024

Sanju Samson vs Rishabh Pant in Indian Playing XI for T20 World Cup 2024: Gautam Gambhir picks the best choice

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) mentor and former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir shared his opinion that Rishabh Pant should be the best choice over Sanju Samson as Team India’s wicketkeeper for the upcoming T20 World Cup 2024. As a result, Indian skipper Rohit Sharma who earlier faced a challenging decision in terms of including either Pant or Samson in the playing XI gets a clear idea after Gautam Gambhir has settled the debate.

Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson as the individual skippers of their teams namely Delhi Capitals (DC) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024, will compete for that one particular spot. This is because these two batters have completely played unique roles for their teams in the ongoing season of IPL, the Indian cricket team management is currently facing an unexpected and challenging decision.

Let us find out why Rishabh Pant is the preferable option over Sanju Samson by scrutinizing their performances in IPL 2024. Also, reviewing Gambhir’s point of view gives a clear idea of including the best choice in the playing XI.

Why does Gautam Gambhir prefer Rishabh Pant in the Playing XI? Former Indian Cricketer’s Opinion

In a recent interview with Sportskeeda, Gautam Gambhir highlighted the main reasons why Rishabh Pant could overtake Sanju Samson’s position based on the overall performance in IPL 2024:

1. Middle Order:

Gambhir points out that Rishabh Pant batted in the middle order for his team, Delhi Capitals, in all 14 league stage matches of IPL 2024.

Contrarily, Sanju Samson batted in the top order and might not get the same chance in the T20 World Cup 2024. This is because the first three positions are sealed by these batters namely Rohit Sharma, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Virat Kohli. There are higher chances to witness Sanju’s dipped performance batting in the middle order. In such conditions, Team India requires a wicketkeeper who can consistently score runs with the bat in the middle order and not in the top positions.

Moreover, Gautam Gambhir suggests that Pant is a natural middle-order batter who has the flexibility to adapt to batting at the fifth, sixth and seventh positions.

2. Best Left-hand Right-hand combination in middle order:

Based on Team India’s current batting lineup, Gautam Gambhir mainly sets his sights on a wicketkeeper who can perform well in the middle order and strengthen the batting department by providing the best left-hand-right-hand combination.

Earlier, Team India’s batting lineup in the ODI World Cup 2023 consisted of a majority of right-handed batters. Perhaps it was one of the main reasons why the batting unit struggled in the finals against Australia, despite winning 10 games sequentially in that tournament.

Rishabh Pant vs Sanju Samson Performance in IPL 2024

Both Sanju Samson and Rishabh Pant have been on fire and displayed a fierce battings style by scoring 400+ runs in the IPL 2024 season so far:

1. Rishabh Pant:

After a long gap of 453 days due to severe injury, Rishabh Pant not only made a great attempt to survive the terrible car accident but also opened a new chapter in his cricketing career. In 13 innings of IPL 2024, the 26-year-old Delhi Capitals skipper scored 446 runs, which includes three half-centuries this season at an average of 40.55 and a strike rate of 155.40.

2. Sanju Samson:

Rajasthan Royals skipper Sanju Samson has been enjoying one of the best seasons in his IPL career. In 13 matches of IPL 2024, the 29-year-old right-handed batter scored 504 runs at an average of 56.00 and a strike rate of 156.52. His exceptional performance in the current edition of the rich-cash league helped him secure a spot in Team India’s squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024.

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Although Sanju Samson scored more runs, still Rishabh Pant has more chances to seal his spot in Team India’s playing XI due to his proven ability to bat in the middle order.

Both these players have performed exceptionally well in the IPL 2024 season and have given a huge challenge to the Indian team management. Currently, Rishabh and Sanju rank among the top ten highest run scorers of the season; and their exact positions in the list will be confirmed once the finals conclude on 26th May 2024.

Since RR has a few more games to play (including their last match of the league stage against KKR and playoffs), it is expected that Sanju might score 600+ runs, making this season the remarkable moment of his IPL career.

At the same time, Gautam Gambhir recommends that if Sanju can accumulate more runs batting at the 6th or 7th position; he could be preferred as an ideal choice to step into the role of the best finisher.

Currently, Team India’s batting lineup is well-equipped with the combination of left and right-handed batters in the T20 World Cup; which makes Gambhir prefer Rishabh Pant in the playing eleven.

Overall, Gambhir feels that if Pant or Samson fail to perform in one or two matches, they shouldn’t be criticized. Instead, one of them should be replaced with the other, and the best performing player should be encouraged.

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