Sunil Gavaskar settles Pant vs Samson debate for India's T20WC opener vs Ireland: Sanju started IPL season superbly...' | Crickit
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Sunil Gavaskar settles Pant vs Samson debate for India's T20WC opener vs Ireland: Sanju started IPL season superbly...'

Jun 02, 2024 03:00 PM IST

Sunil Gavaskar announced his verdict on the debate for India's T20 World Cup opener against Ireland on June 5.

If one thing the warm-up game against Bangladesh has indicated is India's stance on the debate between Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson for the wicketkeeping role in the playing XI for the T20 World Cup. Both had an impressive campaign in IPL 2024, which led to their respective selection, but the debate remained on who should be preferred ahead of whim, until Saturday, reckoned former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, who announced his verdict for India's World Cup opener against Ireland on June 5.

Sunil Gavaskar has his say on Rishabh Pant vs Sanju Samson for the T20 World Cup
Sunil Gavaskar has his say on Rishabh Pant vs Sanju Samson for the T20 World Cup

In a bid to provide opportunities to both the players, captain Rohit Sharma opened with Samson in the match against Bangladesh in New York, while Pant walked out at No. 3. The Rajasthan Royals captain failed to make the most of the opportunity as he was dismissed for just one run in six balls, while his Delhi Capitals counterpart smashed unbeaten 53 off 32 before retiring out in India's 60-run win.

Renowned cricket commentator, Gavaskar, shared his expert opinion with Star Sports, stating that from a wicketkeeping perspective, Pant is leading the race.

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“Yes, I think simply because if you compare the wicketkeeping abilities then Rishabh Pant is a better wicketkeeper than Samson. We’re not talking about batting here, the batting aspect also comes into play. But, Rishabh Pant in the last few matches has batted really well. On the other hand, Sanju Samson started the IPL season superbly, scored runs at will, hitting the ball to all corners of the ground,” he said.

However, from a batting perspective, Gavaskar argued that Pant has fared better in the last few matches in IPL compared to Samson, who had scores of 15, 18, 17 and 10 in his last four IPL matches. The batting legend felt that had Samson managed to notch up a fifty against Bangladesh, he would have cemented his spot in the India XI for the game against Ireland.

“In the last two-three matches, he didn’t quite get runs. So this was an opportunity for him actually the match against Bangladesh. If he had scored about 50-60 then there would have been no question but I do feel that the Indian selection committee will look at having Rishabh Pant as the keeper,” he added.

Notably, Pant was the top run-getter for Delhi in the IPL, with a tally of 446 runs in 13 innings at an average of 40.54 and a strike rate of 155.40 and three fifties. Meanwhile, Samson was the fifth-highest scorer in IPL overall and highest among wicketkeepers with 531 runs in 15 innings at an average of 48.27 and a strike rate of 153.46, laced with five fifties.

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