Sanju Samson on Tuesday blasted 74 off 32 as Rajasthan Royals began their IPL 2020 campaign against Chennai Super Kings in Sharjah. Samson, who walked in at No. 3 after the early dismissal of opener Yashasvi Jaiswal, was in imperious touch as he struck a four and nine sixes during his assault. Also Read - IPL 2020: Mohammed Siraj Wasn't Supposed to Open The Attack And Then Virat Kohli Had a Change of Heart
His innings caught eye of India batting legend Gautam Gambhir who termed him as the best young batsman in Indian and questioned his exclusion from the national squad. Also Read - IPL 2020: Mohammed Siraj's Record Spell Sinks Kolkata Knight Riders in Abu Dhabi
“Sanju Samson is not just the best wicketkeeper batsmen in India but the best young batsman in India! Anyone up for debate?” asked Gambhir through his Twitter handle on Tuesday. Also Read - IPL 2020 Playoffs Qualification Scenario: How Can CSK, RR, KXIP, SRH Still Finish Top Four
His Tweet is a sly dig at Indian team’s backing of wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant who has been unable to replicate his Test form in limited-overs cricket.
The 22-year-old, since making his debut in February 2017, has played 13 Tests, 16 ODIs and 28 T20Is. In the longest format, he averages 38.76 which drops to 26.71 in ODIs and sinks further down to 20.50 in T20Is.
On the other hand, Samson, who made his India debut in 2015, has managed to play just five T20Is in five years – three of those coming earlier this year.
In another tweet, Gambhir, winner of two world cups, accused Indian team management of ignoring the talented Kerala wicketkeeper-batsman.
He claimed that while Samson is welcomed with open arms elsewhere but chances to play international cricket are hard to come by. “It’s weird that the only playing eleven Sanju Samson doesn’t find a place is that of India, rest almost everyone is ready for him with open arms @rajasthanroyals @IPL @BCCI,” Gambhir wrote.
Soon Rishabh Pant became a top-trend on twitter with fans either defending or questioning his place in the Indian cricket team.
Meanwhile, thanks to Samson’s top-order assault. captain Steve Smith’s 69 off 47 and Jofra Archer’s late blitz (27 not out off 8), RR posted the first 200-plus score of the season, finishing their innings at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium at 216/7.