The battle of keepers is back, it seems. With Sanju Samson making his presence feel yet again, fans and experts have started cheering for him yet again. On the other hand, Rishabh Pant is not out of the race.
Sanju Samson has been a consistent name in the circuit for a while. His IPL performance every year spoke for his skills and ability. As of now, Samson has accumulated 2368 runs at an average of 28.87 and with a strike rate of 133.78 including a hundred to his name from 95 matches. In IPL 2020 thus far, Samson has scored 159 runs in just two games including a match-winning performance, at an average of 79.50. Moreover, Samson has done well in keeping also with a total of 26 catches and six stumpings. Samson has so far played a total of four T20Is for the Indian cricket team. He could add only 35 runs to his name with the highest being 19 and effected two catches and one stumping.
The 22-year-old Rishabh Pant, on the other hand, has already played 25 innings for the Indian cricket team in 28 T20Is and scored 410 runs at an average of 20.50. His highest score 65* came against West Indies in 2019. In the case of keeping, Pant effected four stumpings and took seven catches. In the Indian Premier League, Rishabh Pant has played only 57 matches so far- a much lesser than Samson. He has amassed 1832 runs at an average of 36.64 with a strike rate of 159.58. In keeping, Pant has 34 catches and 11 dismissals to his name. In this edition of IPL, Pant has taken time to come out and 96 runs in three matches so far at an average of 48.00. Even his overall consistency in the league over these years has been really good.
When Mahendra Singh Dhoni went for sabbatical leave, it did not take much time for the selectors to give a positive nod to Rishabh Pant. Samson by then already debuted for India in 2015 and played only one match. But Pant’s quick rise did make his access to the national side smoother. Samson was definitely discussed and made it to the headlines as one of the potential next-gen keepers along with other few. In fact, he was included in the squad and played three more matches earlier this year where he could accumulate just 16 runs in total. Let us not forget that Samson comes to bat at No. 3 mostly and also, opens innings for his side. Whereas the case of Pant is absolutely different. So, Samson arguably had the chance to prove himself as a mainstay. Even if we consider IPL, Pant’s numbers look more convincing considering the number of matches both has played so far.
With Pant, the main problem has been his batting in the limited-overs international cricket for the Indian team. Even though the selectors last years zeroed on Pant, the results have not been decent enough. So, with Wriddhiman Saha seems to be perfectly fit for the Test format, the Indian cricket team may think of giving another chance to Sanju Samson in the limited-overs if manages to continue to perform going ahead in the league.