At a time when the debate is on over whether the team should look beyond Mahendra Singh Dhoni in T20I internationals and try out another player, Sanju Samson has sent out a strong message with a sublime century for Board President’s XI in the ongoing warm-up game Sri Lanka in Kolkata.
The home side was in a precarious position after being reduced to 31 for 2 but Samson played a dominating innings to help his team recover from those early setbacks. With opening batsman Jiwanjot Singh finding it tough to play his shots against a disciplined Sri Lankan bowling, Samson took the onus on himself to steer his side out of the mess and did not let the visitors dominate when their bowlers were on top.
Samson, who was handed the team’s captaincy after Naman Ojha was ruled out due to an injury, looked at ease right from the word go and reached his half-century off just 63 balls. He lost Jiwanjot in the meantime but stitched useful partnerships with the following batsmen to keep the scoreboard ticking. The Kerala star had small partnerships with Jiwanjot, Rohan Prem and B Sandeep before being dismissed for 128 when Sadeera Samarawickrama had him caught behind to Niroshan Dickwella.
His 128-run knock came off only 143 ball and at a strike rate of 89.51. The sublime knock was studded with 19 fours and a six. Earlier, Sri Lanka displayed a strong batting show to score a mammoth 411 for 9 in just 88 overs.
Meanwhile, the selectors will be keeping a keen eye on Samson’s progress after Dhoni’s recent struggles in T20s. The former India skipper is still an integral part of the limited-overs team but his diminishing batting abilities have been criticised by many after his knock in the second T20I against New Zealand with the likes of VVS Laxman and Ajit Agarkar saying that the World Cup-winning skipper should quit the shortest format of the game.
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