Hardik, second wicketkeeper’s slot on agenda as selectors to meet

NEW DELHI: The national selection committee, headed by Ajit Agarkar, will convene in Ahmedabad on Tuesday to meet with BCCI secretary Jay Shah. The purpose of this meeting is to finalize the 15-member squad for the ICC T20 World Cup in the Americas, although the official announcement may be delayed by a day.
Shah, who also serves as the convenor of the senior selection committee (men), has prior political commitments that are keeping him occupied.Therefore, the selection meeting will be held in Ahmedabad to accommodate his schedule.Key discussion points during the meeting will include deciding on the second wicketkeeper’s slot and assessing the inclusion of all-rounder Hardik Pandya in the squad.
It’s understood that KL Rahul, with an IPL strike rate of 144 and 378 runs in the tournament so far, and Sanju Samson, who has scored 385 runs at a striking rate of 161, are vying for the second wicketkeeper’s position.
Despite Samson’s impressive performances for Rajasthan Royals as their captain this season, marking the first time in over a decade he’s shown such consistent form for his IPL team, his batting at No. 3 isn’t likely to secure him a spot on the Indian team.
Another school of thought is that someone like Samson, who has 25 T20Is under his belt but an average of just 20 and a strike rate of around 135, should not be considered based on just one good IPL season.
In case of Rahul, it can be said that one senior member of the coaching staff will certainly go all out to push for his inclusion but many believe that the stylish right-handed batter’s approach in T20 cricket remains archaic.
However, he is still considered a better bet than Samson at No. 5 or 6 on slowish Caribbean tracks.
The other option, Jitesh Sharma, is in very poor form, while Dhruv Jurel hasn’t got a chance to keep wickets. During the last game in Lucknow, he did get an opportunity to bat long and scored a fifty.
Left-handed batter Tilak Varma, who is also a handy off-spinner, remains an option along with pacer Sandeep Sharma, the Punjab veteran whose slower variations at the death have played a big role in Rajasthan Royals’ surge to the top of the IPL table.
(With PTI inputs)

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