India’s stand-in ODI skipper Shikhar Dhawan stated that in backing Rishabh Pant over Sanju Samson, one has to see the larger picture on who is a “match-winner” and has to be “backed” by the team management.
In India’s 1-0 series loss, Pant’s lean form and Samson’s exclusion from the playing eleven grabbed headlines. In his last nine innings across white-ball matches for India, Pant had scores of 10, 15, 11, 6, 6, 3, 9, 9 and 27.
Samson, on the other hand, entered the series against New Zealand after being unbeaten in the home ODI series against South Africa. He also hit a fine 36 in the first ODI at Auckland, but was kept out of playing eleven for the next two matches as India preferred Deepak Hooda for sixth bowling option quota.
“It wasn’t that tough. For example, Rishabh played and scored a hundred in England, so we had to back him. Overall you have to see the larger picture and who is your match winner, who needs to be backed. There is some analysis done and your decisions are based on that,” said Dhawan in the post-match press conference.
Dhawan was quick to acknowledge that Samson did well, but he would have to wait for a consistent run as the Indian team is backing Pant to come good. “Of course, Sanju Samson has been doing really well in whatever opportunities he’s got.”
“Sometimes you got to wait for your chances despite doing well, because the other player has done well. That player needs a cushion when he’s not doing well and that’s what we are doing.”
In the tour where three out of six matches were washed out due to rain, India won the T20I series 1-0, before New Zealand won the ODIs by the same margin. Dhawan admitted that rain causing interruptions was not ideal, but the visitors’ still got some learnings from the matches which happened.
“It’s frustrating. We can’t control rain and have to accept everything which nature does. But yes, we got opportunities, and got a chance to discuss our good things as well as flaws, and the young team is told about where they can improve. We discuss all that and analyse.”
Dhawan will now head to Bangladesh and give back captaincy duties to Rohit Sharma for a three-match series in December. The left-handed opener feels youngsters could get a chance in Bangladesh if someone is unfortunately injured.