India should consider replacing struggling Shikhar Dhawan with Sanju Samson in T20Is

Adithya Sundar 21:46 11/11/2019
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India came from behind to register a superb series win against neighbours Bangladesh on Sunday. During the three-match series, India were able to test their bench strength by giving opportunities to a few rookies with varied success.

Shreyas Iyer came good in the third T20I after a couple of cameos, Deepak Chahar stole the show with his stellar bowling while Shivam Dube couldn’t do much with the bat but shone with the ball.

While there was a case to be made for the lack of chances for pacer Shradhul Thakur and leg-spinner Rahul Chahar, Sanju Samson must have felt hard done by at not getting a look in for the entire series.

KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan were preferred at No2 and No3 and the Indian think tank’s reluctance to give Samson a shot before Virat Kohli takes his rightful place in the top-order is a little baffling.

Dhawan’s stock as a limited-overs opener has plummeted in the past year with the southpaw failing to register a half-century in his last 13 T20I innings. His strike rate in the past year hovers around the 120-mark and, for a batsman who predominantly bats in the power play, that is quite poor.

The 33-year-old isn’t quick between the wickets and relies on lofted shots over the in-field to improve his strike-rate. During the final T20I against Bangladesh, Dhawan’s knock of 19 included four boundaries and thus he scored three runs off the remaining 12 deliveries.

Samson

In the opening match of the series, Dhawan anchored the innings with a patient knock of 41 but didn’t capitalise on the fine start.

Dhawan’s proclivity to play across the line is one of his glaring weaknesses and him being caught in the deep off a mistimed slog is a common sight. With the T20 World Cup to be played in Australia on surfaces that offer pace and bounce to the fast-bowlers, an out-of-form Dhawan would be a liability for the Men in Blue.

Samson, 25, who last played a T20I in 2015, has been in tremendous form, scoring 342 runs in the 2019 edition of the Indian Premier League and scoring a superb double ton in the recently concluded Vijay Hazare trophy.

In the upcoming T20I series against the West Indies, India could give Samson a chance in place of Dhawan to prove his worth and give the experienced campaigner a break. He could slot in at No3 with Rahul opening the batting alongside Rohit Sharma.

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