Sanju Samson hit an effortless six during the Qualifier-1 of the recently-concluded IPL. His consistency was a major talking point after India announced their squad for South Africa Twenty20s.
Sparked a fresh debate over his future with the Indian team on his omission from the home assignment. Skipper Rohit Sharma says the wicketkeeper-batter will be taken into consideration while selecting the T20 World Cup squad. But with plenty of alternatives at disposal, has Samson fallen off the team management's radar?
"Samson has not done justice to the amount of talent he has got. He plays well in the IPL and gets good starts. But he is not consistent despite having that X-factor. He can win the game for India on his day. But I feel Samson can bat a bit lower. My suggestion to Samson would be that he should start finishing the games. I remember his one innings against Delhi Capitals where (Jos) Buttler got a century. Samson got four-five overs and got quick-fire 46," Kaif said in a virtual interaction hosted by Sony Sports.
"Samson should come down the order and finish the game for India and Rajasthan in the future. He has got the talent and skill but hasn't done justice. He has got the opportunity to play for India but has not grabbed it with both hands. Maybe now he will look to do that if he gets a chance."
Kaif, who also served as an assistant coach with Delhi Capitals, backed Pant for the upcoming T20 spectacle but said the upcoming England series will be “crucial” for the 24-year-old stumper, who has been criticised for poor shot selection.
"He will be in the squad. But the England tour will be crucial as an individual, you want to come back into form sooner rather than later because very crucial months are coming up, like the World Cup in October and you want to see Pant firing and playing at his best," said Kaif.
"Pant has been doing a great job for India. At present, his form is probably not the greatest. He's got the X-factor, and the skill to do well for India. He's already done that in his small India career.
"He's still learning and he's 24. He's got a long, long way to go, something which Dravid said that as you want to have players with character and skills who can win the game for India. Pant has done that for India. He's got the belief, confidence and backing from the management," he added.