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T20 World Cup: Luck favours Sanju Samson as India to go with extended squad to USA & West Indies

T20 World Cup: Luck favours Sanju Samson as India to go with extended squad to USA & West Indies

The BCCI is expected to announce the provisional T20 World Cup squad by May 1, and can make changes to it till May 15.

With each passing day, it is becoming clearer that the BCCI selection committee will only opt for experienced pros for the T20 World Cup in the USA & the West Indies, beginning on June 2. While there might be a couple of surprise picks, overall it will be a predictable squad for the tournament. And why not, after all these men are proven performers and stood up for Team India multiple times.

Now without getting into the debate of who’s in and who’s out, it becomes imperative to have an extended squad for the T20 World Cup for reasons galore. In fact, not only an extended 20-member T20 World Cup squad is the way to go forward, but also one that has like-for-like replacements for some of the key members.

Form & Injury Concerns

A player’s form can never be constant. A classic example is Yashasvi Jaiswal, who until February was in the form of his life, scoring over 700 runs in the Test series against England. Come the IPL 2024, he is not only struggling to get runs but isn’t looking in the best frame of mind. In this year’s IPL, he has only scored 121 runs in 7 innings, at an average of 17.

Put this in the context of the T20 World Cup, had this drought of runs happened then, someone like Shubman Gill is imperative in the team. As for injuries, the Indian players have constantly been playing for the last few months, since the 2023 World Cup, and workload management is not always possible for key players. It is always wise to have extra players on the bench.

Visa Issues for USA

A bigger T20 World Cup squad of 20 would also ensure that under no circumstances will the BCCI face the issue of arranging for the US visas in a hurry, which might not be possible at all. In case of an injury, or a personal issue, that forces a player out of the tournament, the Indian team might have to contend with a depleted squad. So keeping that in mind, it is only better to have enough players on the bench. Plus, the added advantage with those players would be, they would already be traveling and training with the team for the T20 World Cup. So acclimatisation won’t be an issue.

Sanju Samson for Rishabh Pant, Shivam Dube for Hardik Pandya

Finally, coming to the team composition, some players should definitely make the cut. While they might not be in the playing XIs, but should be present as backups. With Rishabh Pant making a comeback to cricket after a life-threatening accident, he looks to have shown decent form with the bat, and behind the gloves. The southpaw has 210 runs in seven matches, at an average of 35, with two fifties.

But one can’t unsee Sanju Samson’s carnage in the tournament. In seven encounters he has 276 runs at an average of 55, with three fifties to his name. If not in the playing XI, he deserves a chance in the team as the second/backup keeper.

Similarly, no one can deny the importance of a fast-bowling all-rounder Hardik Pandya. Though fit now, he is certainly injury-prone, and that was visible at the 2023 World Cup. So in case of such a contingency, Shivam Dube can more than fill his role.

Probable 20-member T20 World Cup Squad

Rohit Sharma, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rinku Singh, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shivam Dube, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravi Bishnoi, Rishabh Pant, KL Rahul and Sanju Samson, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Arshdeep Singh, Avesh Khan.

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