Though the Hardik Pandya-led Indian T20 team won the three-match series against New Zealand by 1-0, the team has caught into the wave of furore after being slammed by the fans and former players for keeping key player Sanju Samson on the bench throughout the series despite there has been a flawed performance in the batting line-up. Several cricket fans join the trend of criticizing the team's think tank.
There was a major disruption in the series due to rain and while the second match was won by India, the first and the third were ended with no results, following which India won the title and the team is getting ready for its second leg of the tour - 3 ODIs. The T20 team was led by Pandya and it had a handful of young players including batsman-wicketkeeper Sanju Samson. However, Samson kept his attendance to the bench as he wasn't picked for even a single match.
When the Indian batting line-up had a shake over the poor performance of Shreyas Iyer, it was expected that he would be replaced by Samson to build a momentum. However, Iyer was kept in the playing squad for all the matches and when the first match was abandoned due to rain, Iyer scored 13 runs in the second match and in the third match, he was dismissed for a first-ball duck.
As India won the second match and held an advantage of winning the series, it was expected that Samson will be picked for the third and final match. Along with Samson, Umran Malik and Shubman Gill were expected to get into the field. But, the team went into the battle with only one change - Harshal Patel was roped in to replace Washington Sundar.
Though the decider match got tied and India won the series, several fans and former players were disappointed over declining the prospect for Sanju Samson. Among them were former Indian cricketer Dodda Ganesh, who slammed the Indian cricket team for not picking Samson and said that they will neither learn from their mistakes nor would change.
Taking to Twitter, Dodda Ganesh wrote, "By picking Iyer ahead of Samson the Indian think tank has reiterated that they'll not learn from their mistakes and they shall never change their approach towards T20." On the other hand, Indian skipper Hardik Pandya opened up about excluding Samson and said that it is an unfortunate case and he was excluded due to some strategic reason.
Pandya was addressing about the future of his captaincy during which he expressed confidence that he has skills to drive the players who would be hurt for not getting picked into the playing squad. According to PTI, Pandya said if he is considered for leadership role in future, he will be captaining the team on his own way and his team will display the brand of cricket he knows best. During his address, Pandya was asked about how he takes the views of veterans Sunil Gavaskar or Ravi Shastri on him for a long-term captain, he said, "If people are saying, you feel good about it but till something happens - official announcement, you can't say."
Pandya asserted that he understands that people won't like sitting in the bench and there needs to be frank conversations where both captain and the player are able to express themselves. By citing that there won't be any difficulty in handling such situations, Pandya said, "I share a cordial rapport with all players and the players I am unable to pick, there is nothing personal and even they know it. It is because of combination I am not able to play them."
Expressing his mind that he is open for a talk with the players, the 29-year-old cricketer said, "I am a people's man and if anyone feels otherwise, my doors are always open to come and have chat with me. I understand their feelings. Sanju Samson is an unfortunate case. We had to play him but for some strategic reason, we couldn't play him." "If players are feeling bad, they can come speak to me or the coach. Going forward, if I remain the captain, I don't think that will be an issue. My behaviour and nature ensures that we are a close-knit unit", he added.
By picking Iyer ahead of Samson the Indian think tank has reiterated that they’ll not learn from their mistakes and they shall never change their approach towards T20 #DoddaMathu #crickettwitter #NZvIND— Dodda Ganesh | ದೊಡ್ಡ ಗಣೇಶ್ (@doddaganesha) November 22, 2022