India will be locking horns with the home team West Indies in the first of three match ODI series at Barbados today. Both sides have won the ICC ODI World Cup twice, it’s hard to digest that West Indies have not qualified for the tournament this time. 

West Indies need to be mindful in the ODI series as well; most of the batters believe in power hitting, which can backfire in 50 over format compared with T20I’s. They just need to focus on one game at a time and bring back the confidence that they can still beat any team.

Despite not having Pooran and Holder this time around, the hosts still have something they need to beat the visitors; they have power hitting openers Brandon King and Kyle Mayers, the experience of Shai Hope in the middle order and some ruthless finishers in the returning Shimron Hetmyer and Rovman Powell. 

In the bowling department they have experience of skilled bowlers Alzarri Joseph and Oshane Thomas.

For India, it presents an opportunity for young talents to showcase their skills on the international stage in the absence of some key players like Jasprit Bumrah, Rishabh Pant, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Mohammed Siraj.

But that said, there’s still a welcome change on India’s stable that could impact the series.

As India gears up to face the West Indies, one key question remains in the minds of cricket fans – who should play as the wicket-keeper batter for India? 

This time India have two choices, Ishan Kishan or Sanju Samson. 

Sanju Samson, despite having played only 10 matches in the 50-over format, has already shown his mettle and potential to be a valuable asset for the Indian team. His performance in ODI cricket has been impressive, with a total of 330 runs scored at an impressive average of 66 and a strike rate of 104.76. 

In the limited opportunities he has received, Samson has made the most of them.
His ability to anchor the innings and build partnerships is crucial in a format like ODI cricket. His knock of 86* against South Africa showed that he has the temperament to stay at the crease and guide the team through challenging situations.

Moreover, his strike rate of 111.54 during the series against Zimbabwe and 114 against South Africa highlights his capability to accelerate when needed, making him a complete package as a middle-order batsman.

Apart from his batting prowess, Samson’s wicket-keeping skills are also commendable. He has shown proficiency behind the stumps and has a good record of dismissals in the limited opportunities he has had. A solid wicket-keeper can prove to be invaluable in the 50-over format, where every catch and stumping counts.

Comparing the stats, both Samson and Kishan have promising numbers to their names.

Kishan has had a flying start to his ODI career, with a double hundred, a hundred, and two half-centuries to his credit, averaging 42.5 in 14 matches. However, Samson’s ability to convert starts into substantial scores and his higher average make a strong case for his selection in the playing XI.

It is essential for India to strike the right balance between experience and potential, and in this context, Sanju Samson seems to be the better fit.

His consistent performances in domestic cricket, along with his standout displays in the IPL, have earned him a place in the national squad.

Now is the perfect opportunity to give him an extended run in the ODI side, allowing him to gain confidence and adapt to the international level.

Furthermore, with the 2023 World Cup on the horizon, this series against the West Indies provides an ideal platform for Samson to prove his credentials on the biggest stage.

As India seeks a stable wicket-keeper batter for the long term, investing in Sanju Samson could be a wise decision.

Both Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan are talented players, Samson’s consistent performances, better average, and ability to adapt to different match situations make him the more suitable choice for the wicket-keeper batter position in the upcoming ODI series against the West Indies.

The management should consider giving him an extended run to establish himself and bolster India’s chances in the upcoming 2023 World Cup.


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