T20 World Cup: Who fits better, Pant or Samson?

Both Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson have been included in the Indian cricket squad for a big stage after a long time. While Pant returns to the global stage after over more than a year of recovering from a deadly road accident, Samson took a flight for an ICC World Cup tournament for the first time.

As India takes on Ireland in its first group match of the ICC T20 World Cup being held in the USA and the West Indies, the buzz that is doing rounds is who should be the wicketkeeper-batsman to be included in the playing 11. India has options in Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson, both of who have had a remarkable stint in the recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL).

Pant played some dashing innings in the IPL for Delhi Capitals scoring 446 runs at the strike rate of 155.50 and an average of 40.54 in 13 matches.

On the other hand, Samson, who was the fifth highest run scorer in IPL 2024, smashed 532 runs, with an average of 48 at the strike rate of 153.46 in 16 games.

However, their T20 campaigns in Indian jerseys have been far from splendid. While Pant has an average of 22.43 in 66 matches for India, Samson sits at a dismal 19 in 25 games.

After the warm-up game against Bangladesh, in which both Pant and Sanju took to the pitch, many felt Pant should be the first choice. He scored 53 (32) before getting retired-out. While Sanju did keep the wickets in that match, he scored only a single in the 6 balls he faced.

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Speaking after the warm-up game, former Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar remarked that Pant has an edge over Samson for his wicket-keeping mettle. He said that it was not just about the batting but also wicket-keeping and Pant was a better wicketkeeper.

I think simply because if you compare the wicket-keeping abilities then Rishabh Pant is a better wicket keeper than Samson. We’re not talking about batting here, the batting aspect also comes into play. But, Rishabh Pant in the last few matches has batted really well. On the other hand, Sanju Samson started the IPL season superbly, scored runs at will, hitting the ball to all corners of the ground,” Gavaskar told Star Sports.

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Both Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson have been included in the Indian cricket squad for a big stage after a long time. While Pant returns to the global stage after over more than a year of recovering from a deadly road accident, Samson took a flight for an ICC World Cup tournament for the first time.

India hasn’t brought home an ICC trophy since 2013 when they won the Champions Trophy. And after coming so close to winning the 2023 World Cup, Team India is on a mission to win the coveted silverware. And to this end, the playing 11 must be selected with utmost care and some bold decisions need to be taken by the captain and the coach.  

India has been bracketed alongside Ireland, the USA, Canada and Pakistan in Group A. India will clash with arch-rival Pakistan on June 09 in its second group match.