Wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson’s journey at the Asia Cup 2023 has taken an unexpected turn as he was sent back home ahead of the crucial India vs. Pakistan Super Four clash. This decision was made by the team management following the return of KL Rahul, who was cleared to join the Indian squad after receiving medical clearance from the National Cricket Academy (NCA).
Samson had been selected as a backup option for KL Rahul, who was unavailable for the group stage matches against Pakistan and Nepal due to a minor injury concern. Once Rahul was deemed fit and re-entered the Indian squad earlier this week, Samson’s role as a standby player became redundant, leading to his return home.
KL Rahul’s diligent practice in Colombo seemed to enhance his chances of being included in India’s playing XI for the Super Four match against Pakistan. During his training sessions, Rahul spent extensive time in the indoor nets, honing his batting skills. Additionally, he donned the wicketkeeping gloves for 90 minutes under the floodlights, dispelling any doubts about his ability behind the stumps.
The favorable weather conditions on Friday allowed the Indian players to conduct outdoor training at the R Premadasa Stadium in preparation for their high-stakes Super Four opener against Pakistan scheduled for Sunday.
Sanju Samson has been sent back home as he is no longer required in India’s Asia Cup squad. The Indian team management took the decision after KL Rahul joined the squad ahead of the Super 4 stage of the tournament. #INDvsPAK #IndiaVsPakistan #sanjusamson #klrahul pic.twitter.com/HjM401EtC4
— Cricket Rising (@CricRising) September 9, 2023
KL Rahul’s rigorous wicketkeeping drills also raised hopes of his return to the playing eleven. In these drills, Rahul practiced various scenarios of a match, including standing up to the stumps while simulating keeping to spinners. He also worked on collecting the ball down the leg side, focusing on throws in that direction. Furthermore, Rahul’s ability to affect stumpings was assessed, and he was tested against left-handed batsmen, with Kuldeep Yadav playing the role of the batter.
Despite these promising signs, the team management faces a challenging decision regarding Rahul’s inclusion in the final eleven. Rahul’s recovery from the minor niggle, which was unrelated to his previous right thigh injury that required surgery and rehabilitation, will be carefully considered before making the selection.