Sanju Viswanath Samson born on November 11 1994 is one of the rising stars of Indian domestic circuit. He has been vice-captain of Indian U-19 cricket team. He plays for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and is one of the exciting talents to come up in recent times.
In addition to his batting prowess he has an excellent temperament as a cricketer and is a very good wicket-keeper. Not many people are aware of the fact that he is the youngest cricketer to score a half-century in IPL and Champions League T20. He achieved this feat on 29th April 2013 in the match between Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore at a young age of 18 years.
He was officially adjudged the “Best Young Player of the Season” in the 2013 IPL through official poll. He also became the youngest vice-captain during U-19 Triangular series in Australia in the year 2013. The good news is that he has been chosen to be part of the current Indian squad touring England for the ODI series.
If we look back at the early stages of Sanju’s cricketing career it has been filled with excitement and challenges. He started off quite young and became a member of Under 13 cricket team of Kerala. He also captained the team and scored a century in his debut match and the astonishing part is that he went on to score four centuries in five matches in the South Zone Under-13 tournament.
He has also captained Under 16 and Under 19 Kerala State Cricket Teams. During his stint with Kerala Under 16 squad he went on to score a double hundred off just 138 balls in a Vijay Merchant Trophy South Zone match against Goa. He was the leading scorer during the tournament which gave him an opportunity to be a part of U-19 Asia Cup in the year 2012.
In the year 2013 Sanju scored a century against arch-rivals Pakistan in final which helped India to retain the Asia Cup Under 19 tournament cup. Speaking about the IPL career in the initial part Sanju had to wait frustratingly for his turn to come up. He became a part of Kolkata Knight Riders in the year 2012 but was not given an opportunity to play. He had to warm the benches. It was quite frustrating for Sanju but he did not lose hope.
In the year 2013, he was given an opportunity by Rajasthan Royals to play against Kings XI Punjab. Now Rajasthan Royals is one team which encourages fresh talent and is always on the lookout for new faces to shine for the Indian cricket team. He was given an opportunity as the regular wicketkeeper was recouping from an injury. Sanju grabbed this opportunity with both hands and impressed one and all by grabbing a superb catch to remove Rajagopal Sathish from the bowling of James Faulkner.
“Must confess I like the look of Sanju Samson. First time I saw him play. Good crop coming from Kerala. Harsha Bhogle Cricket Commentator
He also played a key role in affecting a run out of Praveen Kumar from behind the stumps. He played a pivotal role in the victory of Rajasthan Royals during the match as his partnership with Rahane for 47 runs sealed the match in favor of Rajasthan Royals. Sanju’s tranquil performance won him many admirers and he has proved to be one of the answers to Royals’ problems in the middle-order.
A Solid Contributor
During the next match against Royal Challengers Bangalore on 29th April 2013 Sanju came into his own while Rajasthan was facing a stiff target of 172. His invaluable contribution of 63 runs off 41 balls and partnership of 68 runs off 46 balls gave a new hope to Rajasthan Royals team. He became the youngest player to score a half-century and also earned him the man of the match award.
The innings was special not only because Rajasthan won but also because of the fact that he scored some extravagant strokes and some valiant sixes of Murali Karthik which gave him an opportunity to become a force to reckon with. He broke the record of Shreevats Goswami from Royal Challengers Bangalore to achieve the feat at an age of 18 years and 169 years. On 5th May 2013, he earned the “Naya Sooch” award in his 4th IPL match against Pune Warriors.
Sanju scored 244 runs in quadrilateral series in Australia in the year 2014. He became the highest run-scorer from seven innings with an average of 81.33. The great thing was that he was dismissed only thrice in the tournament. He kept wickets in all games. The Indian coach Abhay Sharma has praised Sanju for his temperament and batting technique calling him “the future for India”.
Patience & Opportunity
The interesting thing that needs to be noticed now is the facts that with MS Dhoni at the twilight of his career will Sanju get an opportunity to showcase his talents and probably fill in the big boots of Dhoni? Only time will tell the answer but the sure shot thing is that Sanju is definitely a talent to watch out for.
Posted on 30 August 2014