India, South Africa, South Africa tour of India, Rishabh pant, Shreyas Iyer, Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya, VVS Laxman
Miscommunication between Pant and Iyer nearly saw both the players walking in to bat at the same time, creating confusion during the game. Photo: Cricket World Cup/Twitter

India vs NZ: Pant a 'match-winner', Samson has to wait, says Dhawan

India’s stand-in skipper Shikhar Dhawan on Wednesday (November 30) said Rishabh Pant is a proven “match-winner” and deserves full backing from the team management while he endures a difficult phase.

Dhawan also asked Sanju Samson to wait for his chances.

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Known for his flamboyance, the left-handed Pant once again failed after miscuing a rising delivery to get out for a 16-ball 10 as India folded for 219 in the third and final ODI against New Zealand in Christchurch on Wednesday.

The match was abandoned due to rain and the host won the three-match series 1-0. India had won the T20I leg 1-0. However, the rain was the clear winner in the six-match white-ball series with three games being washed out. One match was decided on Duckworth/Lewis method.

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“Overall you have to see the larger picture and who is your match winner. You analyse and your decisions are based on that,” Dhawan said at the post-match interaction.

Pant’s scores in his last nine innings across the two white-ball formats read 10, 15, 11, 6, 6, 3, 9, 9 and 27.

Samson, on the other hand, shone in the limited opportunities and was impressive in the home ODIs versus South Africa last month. The Kerala stumper got out after making 36 in the first ODI in Auckland.

Dhawan said it’s “not difficult” to be in the captain’s shoes while making tricky choices, such as picking Pant over Samson.

“Of course, Sanju Samson has been doing really well in whatever opportunity he got.

“But sometimes you got to wait for your chances because the other player has done well and we know based on his (Pants) skill that he’s a match-winner. So you need to back him when he’s not doing well.”

(With agency inputs)

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