T20 World Cup: Yuvraj picks Pant over Samson for keeper-batter slot; backs Hardik to come good

 - Sakshi Post

Dubai, May 22 (IANS) Former India all-rounder Yuvraj Singh has picked Rishabh Pant over Sanju Samson to be the wicket-keeper for the side in their upcoming Men’s T20 World Cup campaign while backing vice-captain Hardik Pandya to come good in the showpiece event after a forgettable Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024.

Left-handed Pant made a superb comeback to competitive cricket via IPL 2024 after recovering from a near-fatal car accident by amassing 446 runs in 13 matches while leading Delhi Capitals at a strike rate of 155.40. On the other hand, right-handed Samson made 504 runs in 14 matches at an impressive strike rate of 156.32 while leading his team Rajasthan Royals to eight wins and a spot in the playoffs in IPL 2024.

“I’d probably go for Rishabh. Obviously, Sanju is also in great form, but Rishabh (is a) left-hander, and I believe that Rishabh has massive potential to win games for India, which he has done in the past. Lot more in Test cricket, and he’s someone who I feel can be a match-winner on the big stage," said Yuvraj to ICC.

On the other hand, Pandya had a torrid time after scoring only 216 runs in 14 matches, and picked only 11 wickets in his first year as Mumbai Indians skipper, as the five-time champions finished at the bottom of the points table in IPL 2024.

But Yuvraj, a member of India winning the 2007 Men’s T20 World Cup in South Africa, expressed confidence in Pandya producing something extraordinary in the tournament. “Well, the good thing is that the selection has been made. (Selectors see) how players have performed in international cricket and then they look at IPL form. Just not the IPL form.”

“Because if you look at the IPL form, Hardik’s not done well. Looking at his background for India, what he’s done for India, it is important that he’s in the squad. I think his bowling is going to be important, and his fitness is going to be important. And I think he might do something really special in this World Cup.”

India will begin their campaign on June 5 against Ireland at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York.

Yuvraj also thinks captain Rohit Sharma and young left-handed batter Yashasvi Jaiswal should be India’s ideal opening pair in the tournament. “I think Rohit (Sharma) and (Yashasvi) Jaiswal should definitely open. Virat (Kohli) has been batting at No.3 and that’s his position.”

“And then you get Surya (Yadav) at four, and then you got a couple of big options. I’d like to see a couple of left-hand, right-hand combinations because it is harder to bowl at two combinations all the time.”

Yuvraj was further optimistic over Shivam Dube’s selection for the mega event after the left-handed batting all-rounder scored 396 runs in 14 matches for the Chennai Super Kings while striking at an impressive 162.29.

“I think with Shivam Dube, the last T20 series he played for India, I think he did well. And he’s been very consistent in the IPL as well. I just felt the kind of form he’s in, it was important for him to be in the squad.”

“I really think he can make a huge difference in the middle order or the lower middle order, so it’s good to see him in the Indian T20 squad. It was hard to if you look at the guys, it was a hard squad to make, and unfortunately, a couple of really guys missed out but that’s just the nature of selecting the World Cup squad I guess.”

Yuvraj had some sympathy with Rinku Singh and Shubman Gill, who missed out on the 15-member squad and have landed spots as travelling reserves alongside Avesh Khan and Khaleel Ahmed.

“It was a bit unfortunate for Shubman Gill and Rinku Singh. If I talk about Rinku, obviously he has been in good form for India and he has done so well for KKR. And I see a lot of improvement in his batting in the last couple of years.”

“Unfortunate for him and Shubman obviously, scoring tons of runs, from the last year someone who has scored the most number of hundreds for India. From the last two years, and to miss out, as I said that’s the nature of selecting a World Cup squad and I’m sure these guys will be the first ones whenever there’s an opportunity.”

Yuvraj signed off by expressing pleasure on seeing leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal in the Indian team for the World Cup. “It was nice to see Yuzvendra Chahal in the squad because he’s been bowling really well. And second half of the World Cup, you might have wickets slowing down so it’s good to keep some spin bowling options.”

“We have Jasprit (Bumrah), (Mohammed) Siraj, we have the experience with Arshdeep (Singh) as well. So looks like a really strong side but we have to prove it.”

Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by the Sakshi Post team and is auto-generated from syndicated feed.

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