"Was a strategic reason"- Hardik Pandya on not playing Sanju Samson in NZ T20Is
The three-match T20I series between India and New Zealand in favour of the Indians. Team India won the series with a 1-0 margin, with the series decidedly ending in a tie due to rain. India went into the series in the absence of their senior players like Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, and Virat Kohli.
That means it was a right opportunity to try the bench strength for the Indians. However, India stuck with the same XI in the two games played in the series, which resulted in Sanju Samson missing yet another chance to feature for India.
That raised many eyebrows, and many fans were not happy with the non-selection of Samson in the series. And now, Indian stand-in captain Hardik Pandya has revealed why Samson was not given a chance in the series.
In a press conference, Hardik was asked about Samson's exclusion from the playing XI, to which he replied that it was due to some strategic reason. However, he also admitted that it was very unfortunate to bench him in the series.
Hardik said, "Sanju Samson is an unfortunate case. We had to play him but for some strategic reason, we couldn’t play him. I can understand that if I stand in his shoes that even if you are continuously benched for India. It is difficult, as much as I speak to them, it’s no consolation for not playing, but at the same time, if I keep a healthy atmosphere, it’s fine."
Since making his T20I debut for India in 2015, Samson has been given a chance very less. In his 7-year-long T20I career, he has played only 16 T20I games, which is itself very strange. He has played six T20Is in 2022 and scored 179 runs, including one half-century.
India will now play three ODIs against New Zealand, starting on Friday, November 25 at Eden Park, Auckland. Shikhar Dhawan will be leading the Indian team in the ODI series, and it will be interesting to see whether Samson will get a chance to play in the ODIs or not.