Friday, February 23, 2024

T20 World Cup selection in mind? Sanju Samson turns to bowling in Ranji Trophy match for the second time in career

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Although the Indian team are in the midst of a riveting Test series against England at home, where the hosts managed to level the contest at 1-1 after the second match of the five-game series, the focus for 2024 remains the ICC T20 World Cup, which will be held in June. India have already completed their international assignments in the T20I format in preparations for the World Cup, but head coach Rahul Dravid revealed last month that the 2024 Indian Premier League (IPL) will play a key role in the selectors finalising the 15-man squad for the tournament.

This was the second time Sanju Samson bowled in his Ranji Trophy career(PTI)

With India yet to narrow in on their squad for the T20 World Cup, which will be played in the USA and West Indies, the auditions continue for the players and the fringe options. In a probable move to boost his chances of making it to the World Cup squad, wicketkeeper-batter Sanju Samson rolled his arms for the second time in his Ranji Trophy career, during the Elite Group B game between Kerala and Bengal at the St Xavier’s College Ground, Thumba in Thiruvananthapuram.

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Mohammed Azharuddeen donned the keeping gloves in the match as Kerala captain Samson turned to bowling in the final innings of the game. He only bowled an over, conceding 11 runs without picking a wicket.

Although the move backfired for Samson, it did not affect Kerala’s march to a maiden victory this season in six matches. Kerala beat Bengal by 109 runs. They earlier incurred four draws to stand third in the points table behind Mumbai and Andhra.

Samson was not picked for India’s first two assignments in the T20I format post the ODI World Cup, as he missed the home contest against Australia and the away series against South Africa. However, a stunning century, a first in his international career, during the ODI series against the Proteas, helped him gain a spot in the Indian squad for the T20I series against Afghanistan in January. However, he played just one match in that contest, in Bengaluru, where he was dismissed for a golden duck.

Samson would want to make the most of IPL 2024 to cement his place in the T20 World Cup squad with India having most contenders for the wicketkeeping spot, which includes KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan, Rishabh Pant and Jitesh Sharma.

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