The Indian cricket Team completed another series win at home when they bulldozed the hapless Sri Lankans by 78 runs at the M.C.A Stadium in Pune. Indian captain Virat Kohli threw in a major surprise at the toss when he announced his playing XI for the final T20I. With the series not yet won, it was expected that Team India would most probably field the same eleven that won so comprehensively in Indore.
However, with an aim to give chances to as many fringe players as possible, the Men in Blue rung in a plethora of changes for the final T20I. Manish Pandey, who has spent almost the entirety of the home season warming the bench was finally given a chance to put forward his credentials ahead of Shivam Dube.
Yuzvendra Chahal, who missed out on the ODI series against West Indies and the first T20I in Indore against Sri Lanka was also given a chance ahead of Kuldeep Yadav. But the biggest surprise, that no one saw coming was the inclusion of Sanju Samson ahead of Rishabh Pant.
Samson, who had last played an International for India way back in 2015 had stormed back into the reckoning post his whirlwind double-century in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, had warmed the benches ever since he earned a national call-up for the T20I series against Bangladesh.
Every time Samson was benched in favour of the under-performing Pant, social media, as well as the former cricketers and pundits, went bonkers on social media. But, their wishes were finally answered on Saturday when Samson was finally given a chance.
Shikhar Dhawan gave a possible reason behind team management’s decision
Shikhar Dhawan gave a possible reason behind the team management’s decision to play Samson ahead of Pant. “I’m sure the management wants to try players. Today also we wanted to try other players who haven’t batted in the series and give them a fair chance because we’re only left with five T20 (actually over 14 ) games,” said Shikhar Dhawan as quoted by Hindustan Times.
“As a team, we wanted to give chance to everyone and that’s why they’ve been rotating players. Till the World Cup comes, everyone is refined and know their job as well. It is more to give players (time), like how Sanju Samson came in today (at number 3), then Shreyas (Iyer), so they can get more time in the middle because it is a totally different field when you are batting in the match and having more overs and so that was the reason today,” he added.
That said, Samson’s return to International cricket lasted for just two balls. After stroking a six off the very first ball he faced, the Kerala batsman, who was sent-in at the No.3 spot, was trapped leg-before-wicket by Wanindu Hasaranga.
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