Sanju Samson in focus as India eyes T20 series win against Sri Lanka

Sanju Samson will hope to return to form when India takes on Sri Lanka in the second T20 International in Colombo on Tuesday.

Sanju Samson hasn’t been in top form for India of late.

The Indian team will want the out-of-form Sanju Samson to fire when it takes on Sri Lanka in the second T20 International of the three-match series in Colombo on Tuesday.

Having defeated Sri Lanka by 38 runs in the opening encounter, India is unlikely to make changes to the winning combination unless the team management decides to rest Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav, who have been named in the India Test squad for the tour of England.

Both are expected to play on Tuesday and may be rested for the last game once India has sealed the series. In case there is an alternate plan, Devdutt Padikkal and Ruturaj Gaikwad might get a look in rather than the out-of-form Manish Pandey.

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On Tuesday, however, the focus will be on Samson. An average of 13.75 across eight games after numerous opportunities to bat in the top order doesn't bode well for Samson at a time when Indian cricket is overflowing with talent.

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Rishabh Pant has left him far behind in terms of performance, and Ishan Kishan, in the limited chances that he has got, has done no harm to his reputation. With K. L. Rahul also a wicketkeeping option in white-ball cricket, Samson would want to return to form quickly.

The other minor worry for the team would be Hardik Pandya's batting form which has tapered off a bit in recent games. His bowling has been steady but he is nowhere near what he used to be as a skiddy pacer before his back surgery.

The Indian bowling unit put up an impressive showing during the first game and the spinners will want to continue to rattle the opposition.

With more than 20 players supposed to be selected for the T20 World Cup in the UAE, both Varun Chakravarthy and Yuzvendra Chahal could be in the squad.

For Sri Lanka, the T20 series is a tougher test than the ODIs as they don't have enforcers who can take the game away with consistent big hits. Charith Asalanka did try to put the pressure on India during his knock of 44 on Sunday but the inexperience of Dasun Shanaka's team during the crucial phases of the game was exposed as Sri Lanka lost six wickets for 15 runs.

The silver lining certainly will be Wanindu Hasaranga's leg-breaks which have been causing a few problems for the Indian batsmen barring Suryakumar, who has been in prime form.

Teams (from)
  • India: Shikhar Dhawan (c), Prithvi Shaw, Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suryakumar Yadav, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Nitish Rana, Ishan Kishan (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Yuzvendra Chahal, Rahul Chahar, K. Gowtham, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, Chetan Sakariya.
  • Sri Lanka: Dasun Shanaka (c), Dhananjaya De Silva, Avishka Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Pathum Nissanka, Charith Asalanka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Ashen Bandara, Minod Bhanuka, Lahiru Udara, Ramesh Mendis, Chamika Karunaratne, Binura Fernando, Dushmantha Chameera, Lakshan Sandakan, Akila Dananjaya, Shiran Fernando, Dhananjaya Lakshan, Ishan Jayaratne, Praveen Jayawickrama, Asitha Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara, Isuru Udana.
  • Match Starts at 8 pm.