R Ashwin Ends Debate Over Sanju Samson’s Place In The ODI World Cup 2023

As the highly anticipated ICC ODI World Cup 2023 approaches, India is in the crucial phase of finalizing its team combination. With only two months left until the tournament, the team’s management carefully evaluates players and experiments with different lineups to ensure they are well-prepared for the global challenge.

India made bold decisions in the ODI series against the West Indies to explore various options, resting key players Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. The team fielded a lineup comprising several fringe players, leading to mixed results in the series. Despite a loss in the second ODI, India made an impressive comeback in the third ODI, showcasing the depth of talent within the squad.

One of the standout performers in the series was Sanju Samson, who played a pivotal role in the third ODI, even scoring a crucial half-century batting at No. 4. Samson’s performance caught the attention of fans and experts alike, underscoring his potential as a valuable asset in the middle order.

Veteran spinner Ravichandran Ashwin shared his insights on Sanju Samson’s role in the team in a video on his YouTube channel. Ashwin acknowledged Samson’s talent and ability to change the course of a game but pointed out the challenges in finding a spot for him in India’s top four batting positions. With established players like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Shubman Gill holding fixed positions, Ashwin highlighted the limited opportunities in the top order.

“The other player who got a chance was Sanju Samson. He scored a fifty in the ODI series. In the T20I match, he scored 12 off 12. He got a role in the middle-order. When it comes to IPL, he bats at number three or four largely. Mind you, he has got a very good record in ODIs. A very good average and he scored a 50 in the third ODI as well. And he took down spin as soon as he came in, and that’s his specialty,” Ashwin said in a video on his YouTube channel.

Ashwin emphasized that while Sanju Samson has performed well in the ODIs and shown his prowess against spin, the established roles of players in the top four make it difficult to accommodate him there. He further mentioned that the backup for the middle order is crucial, especially in case Shreyas Iyer or KL Rahul are unavailable due to injuries.

“When it comes to Team India, the number 3 and 4 slot is not open. Given Sanju’s ability and talent, we know he can change the course of he game at any point. He is a very good guy and we all want good for him. But the role we expect from Sanju when it comes to Team India is different. There is no space for him in the Top 4. Whether there will be a spot for him after the World Cup or after one or two years after the World Cup, we will have to wait and watch.” Ashwin further added.

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“Because Virat at 3 is a fix. Rohit and Gill are also fixed as openers. Shreyas and KL are also absolute certainties when they are fit. We need a keeper-batter alone as a backup. So, if one of KL or Shreyas is not available they need a backup at 4 or 5. But Sanju is not doing that role in IPL. He is starting to do that role only in ODIs and he has scored a 50 in that role now. That’s good news for him and Team India. I feel Sanju Samson will be ahead in the contingency plan as far as the ODI World Cup is concerned and Tilak Varma is almost there.” Ashwin concluded.

As India gears up for the ODI World Cup, finding the right balance in the middle order becomes a priority. While the top order is fortified with established players, identifying suitable options for the middle-order slots remains a strategic challenge. The upcoming tournament will test India’s adaptability and depth as they strive to build a well-rounded team capable of clinching the World Cup title.

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