The three times India won a Cricket World Cup, a Keralite was part of the triumphant team. If it was medium-pacer Sunil Vaslon, who played for Delhi, who was part of Kapil's Devils in 1983, fast bowler S Sreesanth played his part in the ICC World T20 and ODI World Cup triumphs in 2007 and 2011 respectively.
Cricket fans in Kerala were hoping against hope that star batsman Sanju Samson would be included in the Indian team for next month's Twenty20 World Cup. However, Ishan Kishan pipped Sanju for the second wicketkeeper's slot in the 15-member squad. Sanju even failed to find place in the list of standbys.
Sanju's poor show in Sri Lanka in the three-match T20I series tilted the scales in favour of Ishan. Sanju, who was dropped from the Indian T20 team after the tour of Australia, had forced his way back into the squad after a fine show for Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2021.The fact that the majority of first choice players were away in England for the Test series also helped his cause.
However, Sanju came a cropper on the spin-friendly tracks in Colombo. He managed just 34 runs from three innings with a best of 27.
The 26-year-old has only 117 runs from 10 T20Is with a highest score of 27. Inconsistency has been the bane of Sanju.
Jharkhand player Ishan on the other hand has been impressive in the few matches that he's played for Team India. The selectors have picked up him as the third opener and also the fact the 23-year-old is a left-hander worked to his advantage.
However, all is not lost for Sanju. The IPL 2021 resumes in the UAE on September 19. The Rajasthan Royals skipper needs to score heavily and with the gruelling nature of T20 cricket there is every possibility of a few of the selected players breaking down. The Indian players have been getting injured quite frequently of late.
It must be remembered that Praveen Kumar was initially picked in the Indian squad for the 2011 World Cup. Sreesanth was drafted in after the Uttar Pradesh medium-pacer picked up an injury.
Also the selectors can make change to the World Cup squad till October 10. The onus is on Sanju to make an impression in the IPL.