Sanju Samson’s in-and-out journey with the Indian team continued as the talented wicketkeeper-batter did not make it to India’s Asia Cup 2022 squad announced on Monday by BCCI. Samson, who has played three matches on the trot – in the recent ODI series against West Indies – only once in his career so far ever since making his international debut 7 years ago in 2015, lost out to Rishabh Pant, who was preferred as the first-choice keeper along with Dinesh Karthik and KL Rahul as back-up options. Needless to say, Samson’s omission did not go down well with his fans on social media.
The Kerala cricketer was not the only prominent name to miss out on an Asia Cup berth. Two other T20I regulars Ishan Kishan, and Shreyas Iyer did not find a place in the 15-member squad announced for the marquee event starting on August 27 in UAE but the social media protest was mostly reserved for Samson. The fact that the Rajasthan Royals captain was not even considered as a standby for which three players – Axar Patel, Shreyas Iyer and Deepak Chahar were named – is what irked fans more.
The squad the return of Virat Kohli and vice-captain KL Rahul but pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel were not available for selection due to injuries. Kohli has endured a lean run of form across all formats and the 33-year-old is without a century in international cricket since November 2019.
Rahul returns to the squad after a lengthy period on the sidelines following a groin injury and Covid-19 diagnosis. He will be Rohit Sharma’s deputy. India are defending champions at the Asia Cup, which will be played from Aug. 27-Sept. 11 in the United Arab Emirates. They will open their campaign against arch rivals and neighbours Pakistan in a blockbuster Sunday clash.
The tournament, which serves as preparation for the Asian sides in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup later this year, was shifted to the UAE last month due to the political and economic crisis in Sri Lanka, who retain the hosts’ honour.