Hardik Pandya and Sanju Samson top contenders for T20 World Cup selection© BCCI/Sportzpics

Wicket-keeper batter Sanju Samson, who has remained in and out of the Indian team in white-ball cricket, is reportedly the No. 1 choice behind the stumps for the T20 World Cup 2024. Samson, who has had a phenomenal Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 campaign with the Rajasthan Royals so far, has given his selection chances a big boost despite their being tough competition from Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul. Pant is another wicket-keeper who has shown excellent form this campaign while also leading the Delhi Capitals franchise. Rahul, on the other hand, hasn’t quite convinced with the bat.

As per a report in ESPNCricinfo, it’s Samson who is being seen as the first-choice behind the stumps by the selectors, especially because of his form in the middle-order. With the top four of Rohit Sharma, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, and Suryakumar Yadav almost certain, it’s Samson who has emerged as the top contender for the No. 5 role.

Rinku Singh and Shivam Dube are the other middle-order candidates for the T20 World Cup squad. While Rinku has looked a little off his game, Dube’s rise in the ongoing IPL campaign has made him one of the favourites for the finisher’s role.

Hardik Pandya hasn’t created the impact he was expected to as the captain of the Mumbai Indians but the lack of alternatives for him make him almost an automatic selection. Someone like Shivam Dube or Riyan Parag could’ve been considered in Hardik’s place over the MI skipper’s poor form but the Impact Player rule IPL made things complicated.

Neither Dube nor Parag have been required by the respective IPL franchises to bowl in this campaign. Hence, they haven’t developed as all-rounders enough to compete with Hardik.

In terms of spin-bowling all-rounders, Axar Patel has made things quite difficult for the selectors but Ravindra Jadeja is still expected to beat him to the spot.

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