Sanju Samson sent back home as India toss up between KL Rahul and Ishan Kishan

The 2023 Asia Cup has been a rollercoaster of emotions for India's wicketkeeper-batters, with KL Rahul's return to fitness, Ishan Kishan's heroic performances, and Sanju Samson's departure. These developments have added intriguing layers to India's campaign in the tournament.

KL Rahul, a name synonymous with consistency and elegance in batting, has had his fair share of ups and downs in his One Day International (ODI) career. With 54 matches under his belt, Rahul has accumulated 1986 runs at an impressive average of 45.13. His ODI journey has been studded with five centuries and 13 half-centuries, showcasing his ability to anchor the innings and accelerate when needed.

In Asia Cup 2023, Rahul's journey started with a setback. He was ruled out of the initial matches due to a minor niggle, leaving India without their prolific opener and wicketkeeper-batter. However, Rahul's dedication to his recovery paid off as he regained full fitness and returned to the squad.

Rahul's return has brought a sigh of relief to Indian cricket fans. His sublime batting technique and ability to keep wickets add valuable dimensions to the team. In his first practice session in Colombo, Rahul batted for long hours, signaling his readiness to resume his duties.

Asia Cup 2023: Sanjay Bangar says India’s pace attack is as potent as Pakistan

The 31-year-old wicketkeeper-batter is not only an asset with the bat but also a dependable keeper behind the stumps. He has shown remarkable agility and safe pair of hands throughout his career, making him a crucial cog in the Indian lineup.

With Rahul back in contention, India faces the pleasant dilemma of finding the right batting order for him. His stats speak volumes about his consistency and ability to play match-winning innings, making him an essential component as they prepare to face Pakistan in the Super 4 stage.

Can KL Rahul displace Ishan Kishan from India's Playing XI?

But Ishan Kishan's meteoric rise in Indian cricket has been nothing short of spectacular. With 19 ODI appearances to his name, Kishan has already amassed 776 runs at a staggering average of 48.50. His explosive batting style, combined with consistency, has garnered attention and made him a fan favorite.

In group stage, Kishan grabbed the spotlight with a heroic innings of 82 runs from 81 balls against Pakistan in the group stage. His ability to take on the bowlers, find gaps in the field, and dispatch boundaries at will showcased his immense potential.

Kishan's presence in the middle-order provides India with an aggressive and dynamic option. His impressive stats, which include seven half-centuries, underscore his knack for converting starts into substantial scores. The 23-year-old wicketkeeper-batter is not just a promising talent but a match-winner in his own right.

As India prepares for the Super 4 clash against Pakistan, the team management faces a delightful problem: whether to persist with Kishan or make way for the returning KL Rahul. Kishan's recent performances suggest that he is more than capable of holding his own in high-pressure encounters.

Sanju Samson sent back home 

But Rahul's fitness now has also led to Sanju Samson's departure from India's ODI squad. Samson's ODI career, although limited in appearances, has showcased his potential as a reliable wicketkeeper-batter. In 13 matches, Samson has contributed 390 runs at an impressive average of 55.71, with three half-centuries to his name.

sanju samson
Photo by Icon sport

Samson found himself in a unique position in this Asia Cup. He was initially included in the squad as a backup for the injured KL Rahul, providing India with a safety net in case Rahul couldn't regain fitness in time. However, Rahul's successful recovery rendered Samson's services unnecessary.

Despite his solid ODI stats and the hope of representing India in the World Cup 2023 following Rishabh Pant's unfortunate car crash, Samson's dreams were dashed. The emergence of Ishan Kishan's explosive batting and Rahul's return sealed Samson's departure from the squad.

Samson's journey in the Asia Cup has been a testament to the unpredictable nature of sports. While he played a significant role as a standby player, he ultimately had to make way for Rahul's comeback.

Prasenjit DeyPrasenjit Dey

Prasenjit Dey is an independent cricket journalist with Bylines across reputed publications like Cricbuzz, The Hindu, The Cricketer, Fancode, and The Quint Among Others. He has an experience of eight years in the field and is a valuable addition to the Cricnerds team. You can follow him on Twitter @CricPrasen.