Rohit Sharma led-team India have n number of options for the opening spot in the T20 squad. Rohit and KL Rahul are the obvious choices for the top two spots while Ishan Kishan could be the backup option. Ruturaj Gaikwad also has the outside chance of becoming the backup opener. Former India captain Virat Kohli can also open the batting for Team India. Ex-India cricketer Mohammad Kaif feels that if Sanju Samson wants to get selected in Team India for ICC T20 World Cup 2022 scheduled to play in Australia, then he should give up on his top spot in the batting order and start finishing the game and bat down the batting line-up. 

“Sanju Samson has not done justice to the talent he has got. He plays well in the IPL; he starts really well at number three, gets good 50-60 runs for Rajasthan Royals. But probably he’s not been that consistent. He’s got the x-factor, can win games for India on his day. But I feel Sanju Samson can bat a touch lower. My suggestion would be to Sanju Samson that he should start batting like to finish the game,” said Kaif in a virtual interaction organised by Sony Sports.

Sanju Samson has played 13 T20Is for India since his debut in 2015 and has the highest score of 35 averaging 14.50 and a strike-rate of 121.67. Despite being backed publicly by an awe-struck Rohit Sharma on the eve of India’s first T20I against Sri Lanka in February this year, Samson hasn’t been able to translate the promise and elegance he shows in almost every season of the IPL on the international circuit.

In IPL 2022, while captaining Rajasthan Royals to being runners-up, Samson emerged as the ninth-highest run-scorer with 458 runs at an average of 28.63 and strike-rate of 146.79. Apart from scoring two half-centuries, Samson has mostly been out in the 30s and 40s while going hard on the ball from word go.

With Samson behind in the reckoning for a place in the Men’s T20 World Cup squad with Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik and Ishan Kishan ahead in the race, the timing of two T20Is against Ireland couldn’t have come at a better time to boost his credentials in the shortest format of the game.

Kaif strengthened his case for Samson being a finisher citing his 19-ball 46 against Delhi Capitals in IPL 2022. “I remember one innings he played against Delhi Capitals; where (Jos) Buttler got (a) century, then he got to bat like four-five overs and made a quickfire 45 (46). He should come down and start to finish games for India and for Rajasthan Royals. Having said that, he’s got talent, skill and whenever he got the opportunity to play for India, he has not grabbed it with both hands. Maybe now if he gets a chance (against Ireland).”

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