Dubai: In Sunday’s must-win game for Rajasthan Royals against Lucknow Super Giants, after Jos Buttler’s early wicket, I was not sure who would come down to bat at No 3. Thankfully, common sense prevailed and we could see captain Sanju Samson walking out to bat.
For some strange reasons, Rajasthan Royals were holding back Samson, who is not only their captain but their best batsman, and sending Ravichandran Ashwin to come at No 3, precisely three times this season. The last one against Delhi Capitals baffled me the most.
The earlier experiment of sending Ashwin, I thought, was a one-off experience as Royals wanted to give it a try. But continuing it at the business end of the tournament was quite baffling.
Against Capitals, Rajasthan had lost their premier batter Buttler at the score of just 11 and you expect the captain to lead the way. But to everyone’s surprise, once again Ashwin walked in. Yes, Ashwin scored 50 in that game, but you want to see your best batter and captain leading from the front. This was not done. At No 4 walked in Devdutt Padikkal. What was the think-tank of Rajasthan thinking? To hide Samson or did they believe anyone better than him. Sanju faced his first ball at the beginning of 15th over and to get quick runs, he got out playing just four balls.
Giving out right signals
All these years, Samson has been either opening or coming one down and scored most of his runs in the IPL. And this year too most of his crucial runs have come batting at No 3. He might have not scored runs in heaps this season, but he sets the platform with his dazzling play and more importantly gives out the right signal of captain leading from the front.
On Sunday, coming at No 3 against Lucknow he scored a quick-fire 32 and showed why he is required to bat at the top of the innings. Irrespective of his team winning or not, at least Samson will have the belief and confidence that he contributed to his team’s cause.