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T20 WC 2024: Pant, Samson could pip KL Rahul for India’s wicketkeeper-batter slot

Updated: May 4

ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024: Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson look like a front-runner in India's Wicketkeeper-batter slot for upcoming world cup; KL Rahul continue to be sidelined.

T20 WC 2024: Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson and KL Rahul who will India go with in T20 WC | Walking Wicket (Images_ ©X/Twitter)
Rishabh Pant, Samson and Rahul who will India go with in T20 WC?

The India squad selection for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024 is approaching its eleventh hour. Alongside, the anticipation and inquiries increase over the choice of two wicket-keepers for the inaugural T20 World Cup Champions. 

The best possible decision for the selectors would be to look for players who would bring balance to the squad. There are many preferable options for the selectors, which makes it a good headache to have. 

Rishabh Pant- back to his old business of making an impact

Before his freak injury, Rishabh Pant was always India’s first-choice wicket-keeper. Since the news of his return, the question was how rapidly he could display his unique style of batting. In 10 innings of the IPL 2024, Pant has smashed 371 runs at an average of 46.37. His strike rate of 160.60 is complemented by his three fifties. 

Pant’s first innings batting has been quite impressive. 186 runs have come off his willow at an average of 62 at a strike rate of 173.83. When Delhi Capitals (DC) lost a few early wickets against Gujarat Titans (GT), Pant displayed his capabilities. He respected the conditions and later showed his crazy batting. 

The record of his second innings, however, speaks a little differently. In six innings during the chases, Pant has an average of 37 for his 185 runs at a strike rate of nearly 150. Being a left-hander, Pant would also help India maintain the right-left combination in the middle. His improved keeping, both for the pacers and the spinners, is another advantage for India.

IPL 2024, RR vs LSG_ Sanju Samson gets player of the match for his 82 off 52 against LSG _ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©IPL_X)
Sanju Samson looks in great touch this IPL season (Images: ©IPL/X)
Sanju Samson- calm and focused on his goal

It’s still so surprising to even imagine that Sanju Samson, with all his skills and maturity, doesn’t have a fruitful international career. However, in this IPL 2024, Samson looks to be in a different touch. He is the fourth-highest run-getter of the tournament currently, with 385 runs at an average of 77. His strike rate of 161.08 speaks how aggressive the Rajasthan Royals (RR) captain could be. 

Among all the batters, who have batted at number three, Samson has the best record at the moment. Only three times, the Royals have batted first this season. Their captain has collected 165 runs in those three innings and has been dismissed only once with a strike rate of a touch under 160. 

When it comes to chases, Samson knows how to make it look simple. In his previous encounter against the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG), Rajasthan found themselves under rare pressure in this season. They lost three wickets inside 18 runs and looked a little iffy in their 199-run chase. Samson had an acid test before him. He respected the conditions for his first 10 balls and then found one biggie over Yash Thakur’s head to bring the required run rate under control. 

At one point, he was on 11 in 10 balls, and ended up on an unbeaten 71 in 33 balls, shouldering on seven boundaries and four sixes. Most importantly, he carried his side over the line. When it comes to chases, Samson has the sixth most runs (220) at an average of 55, and a strike rate of 163. It’s quite amazing how he balances his numbers on both occasions. 

If India decide to open with their experienced duo of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, Sanju could be a fantastic option at number three. Of all wicket-keepers India have used since their last T20 World Cup, Samson has been part of the most number of games. The way he has guided the bowlers and fielders in positions behind the wickets is another bonus to have. 

KL Rahul has done well in chase for India in ODI_ Walking wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Rahul hasn't play a single T20I since 2022 T20 WC (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)
KL Rahul- Doing everything possible with 378 runs in nine innings 

India haven’t kept KL Rahul under the scheme of things in the shortest format of the game recently. Since the semifinal of the 2022 T20 World Cup, Rahul hasn’t featured in any of the T20Is. This could be for his injuries or for the rest and rotation policies to keep him fresh. 

In IPL 2024, Rahul is currently the fifth-highest run-scorer with 378 runs at an average of 42. His strike rate of 144.27 has also helped him celebrate three fifties so far this season. Rahul has been doing his natural anchor job, where most of the batters play around him in an aggressive manner. 

Only 11 players have played 100 balls in the seventh to 15th over period in this IPL. Rahul’s strike rate of 149.57 is the ninth best among those. However, this is exactly how the Super Giants have programmed their campaign. 

For the moment, Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson should pip over KL Rahul in the wicket-keeper choice. But if a backup option is required, he would be the first to get the ticket. India will begin their 2024 T20 World Cup campaign against Ireland. The game will take place on June 5 at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium, New York. 


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