People often debate the significance of a reliable wicketkeeper-batter in a team, and the recent comments from former Indian star Suresh Raina have stirred the conversation. Raina has passionately backed Kerala player Sanju Samson for the wicketkeeper-batter role, labeling him as the X-Factor.
While India boasts several competent wicketkeeper-batters like KL Rahul, Jitesh Sharma, and Ishan Kishan, recent developments in Indian cricket have seen Sanju Samson and Jitesh Sharma included as wicketkeeper-batters in the T20I series against Afghanistan. But Suresh Raina has got his wicketkeeper choice sorted for the T20 World Cup to be held in West Indies and US this year. Raina points to Samson's stellar century against South Africa as evidence of his remarkable skills.
Speaking about Samson's chances to Jio Cinema and Sports 18 Raina said, "You cannot sign off Sanju Samson. The way he scored a hundred against South Africa on the latter's soil. He plays fearlessly and is a superb wicketkeeper. Samson is also a captain material. He has done well whenever he has got chances."
He further added, "We have some very good options for wicketkeeper-batter role -- KL Rahul, Jitesh Sharma, Ishan Kishan, and Pant whenever he comes back after getting fit. I prefer to have Sanju in the middle order because he has a lot of shots. He plays those pick-up shots against pacers from the length. Hopefully, he performs well in the IPL too before the selectors sit down to select the team for the T20 World Cup. So, it is a good chance for Sanju against Afghanistan, and he can be our X-Factor in the World Cup."
Sanju Samson- Indian cricket’s lost talent
Samson's ability to play fearlessly and execute pick-up shots against pacers from the length has caught the eye of cricket fans from his young days only when he was first spotted by the masses in the IPL hitting experienced bowlers out of the stands for fun.
He was termed as the next big thing in Indian cricket but hasn't been able to make the most of the scattered opportunities he got. However, his fans believe that Samson has been hard done by the selectors and the management and hasn't got a consistent run yet that other players have got.
However, Ishan Kishan's exclusion from the Afghanistan series has come as a blessing for Samson in the T20I format and he now has a small opening that he can use to make it into India's T20I squad for the T20 World Cup.