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Why Shivam Dube should make way for Sanju Samson in India's Playing XI for the Match against USA

T20 World Cup 2024: Should India give Sanju Samson as chance over Shivam Dube in upcoming games? Why Sanju Samson could be a good bet in slow USA tracks?

T20 World Cup 2024_ Shivam Dube or Sanju Samson, Will India like to make a change in Playing XI_ _  Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©Twitter_X)
Shivam Dube or Sanju Samson, Will India like to make change in Playing XI? (Photo: ©Twitter/X)

As the T20 World Cup 2024 unfolds, India, the world’s No. 1 T20I team, has demonstrated formidable prowess with victories over Ireland and Pakistan. They triumphed over Ireland by 8 wickets on June 5 and narrowly edged out Pakistan by 6 runs on June 9. They are now set to face USA in their third league stage match on June 12 at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York. This clash, the first-ever T20I encounter between India and USA, holds significant stakes: the winner will secure a spot in the Super 8s from Group A.

However, a critical selection decision looms over the Indian team management. With Shivam Dube’s lacklustre form and minimal contribution as a bowler in the first two matches, the question arises: Should India replace Shivam Dube with Sanju Samson?

The Case for Sanju Samson

Sanju Samson’s inclusion in the playing XI is gaining traction, not just among fans but also among cricket pundits. Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar and former Zimbabwe player Andy Flower have both advocated for Samson’s inclusion, citing his superior batting skills and recent form.

Sanju Samson’s performance in IPL 2024 has been a testament to his batting maturity and consistency. He scored over 500 runs, showcasing his ability to adapt to various match situations. Samson’s proficiency with a wide array of shots, including the pull and the late cut, underscores his versatility and value in the batting line-up. As noted by Manjrekar, Samson is currently at his peak, making this the optimal time for India to leverage his talent at the international level.

Historically, Samson had a tendency to start tournaments strongly but fade as they progressed. However, in IPL 2024, he overcame this pattern, scoring consistently throughout the season and finishing matches on multiple occasions. Batting at number 3, Samson remained unbeaten in four out of 15 games, highlighting his game-finishing ability.

India vs South Africa, 1st ODI, Top Performances_ Sanju Samson scored 86 off 63 against South Africa in 1st ODI _ Walking Wicket  (Photo_ ©BCCI)
Sanju Samson can add more value to middle order (Photo: ©BCCI/X)
Will India Opt for Specialist Batter Over All-Rounder

Shivam Dube, though an all-rounder, has not bowled a single over in the first two World Cup matches. Moreover, he bowled only one over in IPL 2024. His minimal contribution with the ball coupled with a batting slump raises questions about his role in the team. Since the World Cup squad announcement, Dube has failed to make a significant impact, with scores of 0* against Ireland and 3 off 9 balls against Pakistan. His recent T20 scores include 21, 18, 7, 14, 0* and 3, contributing to Chennai Super Kings' failure to reach the playoffs in IPL 2024.

In contrast, Samson’s batting technique and ability to handle quality bowling attacks provide a stronger case for his inclusion. Despite a modest T20I average of 18, Samson’s ability to handle pressure and his consistent performances in IPL 2024, where he led his team to Qualifier 2, demonstrates his capabilities. Additionally, Samson's flexibility to bat at any position is crucial for India’s strategy, which emphasises flexibility in the batting line-up except for the openers.

A Tactical Advantage from Batting's Point of view

With three left-handed batters in the line-up (Axar Patel, Ravindra Jadeja, and Rishabh Pant), India can consider replacing Dube with Samson to add a right-handed batting option. Axar Patel batted at number four against Pakistan, a position above Dube in the batting order. Continuing with this strategy, Samson could be a more fitting choice.

India’s pace attack featuring Jasprit Bumrah, Arshdeep Singh and Mohammed Siraj has performed admirably, complemented by Hardik Pandya bowling his full quota of overs. All-rounders Jadeja and Axar Patel have effectively shared the remaining overs. 

Given that Dube has not bowled in the on-going tournament and only bowled one over in IPL 2024. Samson, currently the better batter with prowess against both pace and spin, should be considered over Dube.

India vs Afghanistan, 1st T20I_ Shivam Dube's all-round performance help India win first T20I _ Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Shivam Dube yet to bowl in T20 WC 2024 (Photo: ©BCCI/Twitter)
Overcoming Warm-Up Setbacks

Samson’s below-par performance in the warm-up game against Bangladesh might have initially dented his chances. However, as Manjrekar highlighted, fringe players like Samson often face undue pressure during limited opportunities. Given his overall form and potential, a single warm-up game should not overshadow his proven abilities.

As India prepare for a crucial match against USA, the decision to include Sanju Samson over Shivam Dube could be pivotal. Samson’s batting prowess, current form and ability to handle high-pressure situations make him an ideal candidate to strengthen India’s middle order. With the stakes high and a place in the Super 8s on the line, India would benefit from leveraging Samson’s skills to enhance their chances of advancing in the tournament.


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