Saturday, May 18, 2024

“I will be disappointed if he does not…”: Ravi Shastri wants Sanju Samson to realise his potential

Former India head coach Ravi Shastri believes that Sanju Samson is yet to realise his potential at the international level and he would be disappointed if the talented batter doesn’t finish his career as a top player.

The 28-year old Samson has been presented with yet another big opportunity as he was on Friday picked for the three-match ODI series against West Indies for the tour next month.  

The Kerala batter’s inclusion as a wicketkeeping option in the squad also suggests that he is in the scheme of things for the ODI World Cup, set to be played in India between October and November 2023.

“There is Sanju (Samson), who I believe is yet to realise his potential. He is a match-winner. There is something that is missing. I will be disappointed if he does not finish his career all guns blazing,” Shastri told The Week.

“It is like when I was the coach, I would have been disappointed if Rohit Sharma had not played in my side as a regular Test player. Hence, his opening the batting. I feel similar with Sanju,” he added.

Shastri also felt that the side could strike the right balance by going with a left-right combination. He wanted to see as many as two left-handers in their top six.

“You need to strike the right balance. Do you think a left-hander will make a difference at the top? It does not have to be opening, but in the top three or four. You have to weigh all those options. Ideally, in the top six, I would like to see two left-handers,” he said.

The 61-year old Shastri added that there was serious left-handed talent in the country, ready to replace any senior player in the side.

“You have Ishan Kishan. In the wicketkeeping department, you have Sanju. But the left-handers, you have (Yashasvi) Jaiswal, Tilak Varma. There is enough left-handed talent that can replace any senior player at the moment,” the former India coach said.

The former all-rounder also wanted India’s ODI side to form a pool of 15-20 young players and keep them involved with the senior side. He opined that there were a lot of injuries in the international setup and it was best if India had backup strategies.

“There are so many youngsters. There is Jaiswal and, I might miss out a few here, Tilak Varma, Nehal Wadhera. There is (Sai) Sudharsan, who played so well in the (Indian Premier League 2023) final. There is Jitesh Sharma,” said Shastri.

“Among the bowlers, there is a crop of young fast bowlers. Quite a few, there is Mukesh [Kumar], names do not come to my mind now. But, there are at least four or five who can be groomed around that 135kmph-140kmph mark. So I am not worried about the talent in white-ball.

You have a lot of injuries these days. I always like a pool of 15-20. You should always be prepared, you should have a plan B, plan C,” he concluded.



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