‘Unfortunately, I’ve left out Sanju Samson’: Pathan names his contenders for the wicketkeeper’s spot in T20 WC squad | Cricket

Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan has left out Sanju Samson from his squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup. The veteran star has picked his three contenders for the wicketkeeper’s slot and the Rajasthan Royals skipper failed to make the cut despite his impactful start to the 2024 Indian Premier League. Samson, who was once touted as the next big thing in Indian cricket, has yet to become a mainstay in the senior team setup.

Sanju Samson is leading Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2024.(AFP)
Sanju Samson is leading Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2024.(AFP)

Pathan shortlisted Jitesh Sharma, Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul as his three contenders for places in the T20 World Cup squad.

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Elaborating on his picks, Pathan asserted that Jitesh has been part of the set-up for the past few months but the return of Pant might force the selectors to change their plans. However, to make a case for himself, the DC skipper has to prove his form and fitness throughout the 14 matches in the season.

“Jitesh was keeping for India until now but Pant is back. Pant is a very exciting cricketer. He is a match-winner who can turn a game from any situation. But he is returning after a long time. You would want to see how he goes about in these 14 matches. What is his fitness, how is he feeling and if he is in form or not? Right now, I am not putting any pressure on when it comes to form. Let him just play, let him just come back and enjoy the game. That’s why his name is there but he is not a sure-shot just because of that,” Pathan said on ESPNCricinfo.

Meanwhile, talking about Rahul, Pathan suggested that it would be crucial for him to bat in the middle-order in the IPL which is a possibility considering the options LSG have at the top of the order to replace him.

“KL Rahul opened the batting for LSG in the first game. Ideally, you would want a player to play for India in a position similar to what he plays for his franchise. It could happen midway through the season (Rahul batting in the middle order). LSG have options to open the innings in Devdutt Padikkal, Kyle Mayers and Quinton de Kock. So Rahul could play down the order depending on what situation the franchise is in,” he added.

However, the 2007 T20 World Cup star asserted that having Rahul in the line-up is an asset as he has been in terrific form in the last few months.

“I believe that if KL Rahul ends up batting in the middle order and if he is able to maintain his form which should be since he is a technically sound player and has been in form in white-ball cricket for a while now. You won’t find a better cricketer than him,” he added.

Pathan further explained his decision to leave out Samson from his squad.

“Unfortunately I have left out Sanju Samson as the reason behind it is where Sanju bats in the IPL – as a top-order batter. And in the Indian team, it’s like a traffic jam situation at the top of the order. Rohit Sharma, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill and Virat Kohli are certainties in the World Cup squad and you can’t fit (Sanju Samson) there.,” he added.


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