08 May 2024, 13:34

Sangakkara backs Samson as India keeper for T20 World Cup

NEW DELHI, May 8, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - Rajasthan Royals captain Sanju Samson has made his case to be India's first-choice wicketkeeper at the T20 World Cup, the team's director of cricket Kumar Sangakkara has said.

Samson has been named in India's 15-member squad as wicketkeeper-batsman alongside Delhi Capitals skipper Rishabh Pant, who has also impressed in the Indian Premier League after his return to cricket following a horror car crash.

He smashed 86 off 46 balls on Tuesday but the knock went in vain, with the Capitals winning by 20 runs at home.

Samson has been in prime form with 471 runs in 11 matches and Tuesday's match was his fifth half-century of the season.

Sangakkara played down the Pant versus Samson debate in the post-match press conference but made his choice clear.

"It's really up to Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma and how they see the combination," Sangakkara told reporters.

"But he has made his case, so hopefully he'll have a good run in the World Cup."

Samson has been an understated leader of his team, who are all but through to the play-offs with eight wins in 11 matches, and is third in the batting list behind Virat Kohli (542) and Ruturaj Gaikwad (541).

Pant, who has been lauded for his glovework and batting after recovering from his crash in December 2022, is also among the top 10 batsmen with 413 runs from 12 matches.

"With Sanju, the biggest thing about this season for him is having a lot of clarity about the way he should bat," former Sri Lanka wicketkeeper-batsman Sangakkara said.

"There are certain stages of the game that he seems to lose a bit of concentration, which we've addressed from past seasons," he added.

"He's changed his mindset about the importance of rest and recovery, rather than just training all the time and being tired mentally and physically."

This year is Samson's first in a World Cup squad and Sangakkara said he is a team man.

"He's a special player and when he's fresh and focused there's nothing he can't do," said Sangakkara.



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