India’s New Zealand tour concluded on Wednesday with the final ODI in Christchurch getting called off due to rain. The youngster-laden side couldn’t produce a top show against the Kiwis and ultimately lost the series 1-0. New Zealand’s 7-wicket win in Auckland let them lay their hands on the trophy while the poor weather never allowed the visitors to bounce back.
Besides the New Zealand weather, the ‘Rishabh Pant vs Sanju Samson’ debate remained the key highlight of the series. The fans of the Kerala cricketer were left baffled as he got to play just 1 game in the entire series whereas the Delhi boy remained team management’s first-choice wicketkeeper-batter despite a streak of low scores.
Even on Wednesday, when India’s fate in the ODI series was at stake, Pant departed playing a mistimed shot. He ended up scoring 10 off 16 as India could only muster 219 before getting bowled out.
While addressing a post-match presser, the hot topic was raised again and Dhawan made it clear that Pant is a match winner while Sanju will have to wait for his chance.
“Overall, you have to see the larger picture and who is your match winner. You analyse and your decisions are based on that,” Dhawan said at the post-match interaction.
Pant’s scores in his last nine innings across the two white-ball formats read 10, 15, 11, 6, 6, 3, 9, 9 and 27. Samson, on the other hand, shone in the limited opportunities and was impressive in the home ODIs versus South Africa last month. The Kerala stumper got out after making 36 in the first ODI in Auckland.
Dhawan said it’s ‘not difficult’ to be in the captain’s shoes while making tricky choices, such as picking Pant over Samson.
“Of course, Sanju Samson has been doing really well in whatever opportunity he got. But sometimes you got to wait for your chances because the other player has done well, and we know based on his (Pant’s) skill that he’s a match-winner. So, you need to back him when he’s not doing well,” Dhawan said.