Sanju Samson made a solid case for himself to grab a spot in the Indian squad for the Asia Cup and the 2023 World Cup later this year by blasting 51 runs off 41 balls in the third ODI against the West Indies on Tuesday. Samson led India’s charge between the 23rd and 32nd over, ensuring that they don’t lose steam after their 143-run opening partnership came to an end and Ruturaj Gaikwad fell without troubling the scorers too much.
Samson’s run in the Indian team has been a topic of discussion for quite a while now and with Suryakumar Yadav unable to find his groove in the ODI format and Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul’s injury woes, the chorus to give the Kerala wicketkeeper-batter a consistent run has only grown louder.
Walking in to bat at No.4, Samson got off the mark with a six off his second ball against leg-spinner Yannic Carriah, who got him out in the 2nd ODI. The right-hander was in no mood to let the West Indies spinners dictate terms in the middle overs. He hit four sixes in his blistering knock before holing out to mid-off.
Samson has played in a variety of positions and he admitted that while it is challenging, it is about how many overs you get to bat regardless of what position you walk in.
‘Being an Indian cricketer is challenging’: Sanju Samson
“Being an Indian cricketer is challenging, I have played domestic cricket for the last 8-9 years and for India, here and there, so it gives you a bit of understanding of playing in different positions. It is the number of overs you get and it is not about batting position so you have to prepare accordingly,” Samson told the host broadcasters after the Indian innings.
“It feels really great to spend some time in the middle, score some runs and contribute for your country. I had different plans for different players, I wanted to use my feet and dominate the lengths of the bowlers.”
Samson said that the conditions in Trinidad were much better than what was the case in Barbados, where the first two ODIs were played. “That (Kensington Oval) was a bit damp, but this (surface) looks a bit dry. With the new ball, it was coming on nicely, but as the ball got old it was holding up and became slightly tough against the spinners. It was not easy to get that score, credit goes to the middle-order batters for hanging in and getting that score,” he said.
Hardik Pandya, standing in as captain for the rested Rohit Sharma, took control towards the end of the Indian innings and gave them a big finish. The visitors thus put up a score of 351/5, their highest in an ODI match in the West Indies. Pandya was unbeaten on 70 off 52.
West Indies were bowled out for 151 in 35.3 overs as pacers Mukesh Kumar (3/30) and Shardul Thakur (4/37) led the charge for India to ensure a 2-1 series win in the three-match series.