The atmosphere in the Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram was electrifying as India and West Indies did their pre-game warm-ups on Sunday. That camaraderie the crowd shared with the players, however, took a distinct U-turn soon after the game began when Rishabh Pant let go of a catch behind the stumps to give the West Indian opener a life.
The angry crowd chanted “Sanju, Sanju” to mock at Pant, who has, of late, invited wrath from Indian fans for his inconsistency. Before the start of the series, Captain Virat Kohli had made it a point to appeal to the crowd to not “shout” and “isolate” Pant and to “respect” him as a player. This time, a clearly miffed Indian skipper, questioned the crowd with a show of his hands after they brought out Samson’s name to jeer at Pant.
Earlier at the toss, when Kohli announced that they were fielding the “same team”, the whole stadium went into limbo and a hushed silence followed as they expected Samson, who was seen practicing wicket-keeping ahead of the toss, to play. His omission from the T20I squad at the beginning of the series had not sat well with the Keralites either, who expected him to be given a game during the Bangladesh series before he was dumped.