Sanju Samson will not be able to participate in the T20I series against Sri Lanka due to a knee injury. In his place, Jitesh Sharma, a wicketkeeper-batter from Vidarbha and Punjab Kings, has been called up to join the squad in Pune. This is the first time Jitesh has been selected for the national team.
According to a statement from the BCCI, Samson sustained the injury while trying to field a ball near the boundary during the first T20I. He received medical attention and has been advised to rest and undergo rehabilitation.
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“Samson hurt his left knee while attempting to field a ball near the boundary ropes during the first T20I,” a BCCI release stated. “He was taken for scans and a specialist opinion this afternoon in Mumbai by the BCCI Medical Team and has been advised rest and rehabilitation.”
Jitesh, who had a strong performance in the IPL last year, scoring 234 runs in 12 games with a high strike rate, will serve as cover for Ishan Kishan for the remaining two T20Is. The injury to Samson may also open the door for Rahul Tripathi to make his debut at his home ground, as he has been travelling with the squad but has yet to play.
Samson had a disappointing performance in the 1st T20I, scoring just 5 runs and also dropping a catch. The Kerala batsman came under fire for his shot – an attempted hoick over mid-wicket which landed in the hands of the short-third fielder – that resulted in his dismissal.
“And this time, it’s the leading edge going to short third man. He is such a fine player. Sanju Samson has so much of talent but his shot selection sometimes lets him down. And this is one more occasion where it has disappointed,” said former India cricketer Sunil Gavaskar while commentating during the first T20I at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.