Sanju Samson
Sanju Samson will play his maiden ICC T20 World Cup in 2024 for India Image Credit: AFP

New Delhi: Indian wicketkeeper-batter Sanju Samson posted a heartwarming message on social media following his inclusion in squad for ICC T20 World Cup 2024.

The hard work and consistency shown by Samson as a Rajasthan Royals skipper and batter during the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) paid off as he was selected along with Rishabh Pant as the wicketkeeper-batter in the squad.

Following the squad announcement, the Kerala-born batter took to Instagram and posted in Malayalam, "Viyarpu Thuniyitta Kuppayam", which translates to "Shirt stitched of sweat and hardwork."

Samson made his T20I debut, which also happened to be his international debut, back in 2015 against Zimbabwe, but over the years, he got very few chances to play due to better performances from other players, the presence of MS Dhoni and Pant in the wicketkeeper slot and his inconsistency. His T20I statistics do not really give justice to his talent and hitting abilities. In 25 T20Is, he has made just 374 runs at an average of 18.70 and a strike rate of 133.09, with a solitary fifty. His best score is 77.

However, his performances in the IPL have been really good. In 161 matches of his IPL career, he has made 4,273 runs at an average of 30.96 at a strike rate of 139.04, with three centuries and 24 fifties. His best score is 119.

This ongoing IPL season is shaping up to be his best one. Not only is his side at the top with eight wins in nine games, but Samson has shown next-level consistency with the bat, scoring 385 runs at an average of 77.00 and a strike rate of over 161, with four half-centuries. His best score is 82*. Currently, he is the seventh-highest run-getter in the tournament.

His competitor for the slot, KL Rahul, the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) skipper and Pant have also done well in the IPL so far.

In 10 matches, KL has scored 406 runs at an average of 40.60, with a strike rate of 142.95 and three half-centuries. His best score is 82*. He is the fourth-highest run-scorer in the tournament.

Pant is the fifth-highest run-getter, with 398 runs at an average of 44.22, with a strike rate of 158.56 and three half-centuries. His best score is 88*.

India are placed in Group A of the tournament alongside arch-rivals Pakistan, Ireland, Canada and co-hosts USA. Their campaign begins on June 5 against Ireland at the newly-constructed Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York before they take on Pakistan on June 9 in one of the most awaited matches of the upcoming T20 World Cup.

Squad: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Hardik Pandya (Vice Captain), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (WK), Sanju Samson (WK), Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Siraj.

Reserves: Shubman Gill, Rinku Singh, Khaleel Ahmed and Avesh Khan.