Sanju Samson has been one of the standout players of this year’s Indian Premier League season so far. The Rajasthan Royals batsman has started with a bang and helped his team win their first two games in the UAE.
Against Chennai Super Kings in the opener, Samson went on a six-hitting rampage to finish with 74 runs off just 32 balls. And in the second game against Kings XI Punjab, he scored 85 off 42 to help RR achieve the highest-ever run-chase in IPL history.
Samson is the only player at this stage of the season to have two player of the match awards to his name.
The 25-year-old made a comeback to India’s T20I side last year and played matches against Sri Lanka and during the tour of New Zealand. The keeper-batsman has long been considered one of the brightest batting talents in the country and his current form shows that he is ready to establish himself as a world-class player.
In a media interaction on Tuesday, Samson spoke about how he has had a change in mindset towards his game over the past year. He reflected on a chat he had with India captain Virat Kohli earlier this year which meant a great deal to him.
“I had a really amazing experience when I was training with the Indian team. I was in the gym with Virat bhai and asked him about his training routines and why he puts so much energy into his fitness. He then asked me how long I think I will play, so I replied that I could go on for maybe 10 years more,” said Samson.
“So he said I could do whatever and eat whatever my heart desired after these 10 years. But during this period, I should give whatever I have to cricket. I think his words really changed my perspective and my dedication towards the game. I realised I could do more.”
The right-hander said that he has much more clarity now and is determined to make the most of his potential.
“I’ve been very lucky to have good individuals, good human beings around me,” said Samson.
“I’m a deep person, I keep thinking about my future, which direction I’m heading in. I think about how many years I have left in my life, eventually everyone has to die one day. Similarly, I will finish playing cricket one day. That’s how I reaslised that I won’t be playing after 10-12 years or so.”
No comparison with MSD
Congress MP from Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram, Shashi Tharoor, called him the next MS Dhoni. But Samson does not want to draw any comparisons.
“I am sure that no one can and no one should try to play like him. It’s not at all easy to play like MS Dhoni, so leave that aside. I never think of playing like him. He is a legend of Indian cricket, legend of the game,” Samson said. “I only focus on my game, what I can do, how I can do it best and how I can win matches.”
Asked if he thinks he has done enough to attract the attention of the national selectors, Samson said, “Maybe. Maybe not. The only think I know is I am in good form, my only dream is to win matches for my team, any team I play for. My focus is on the IPL right now.”
Having performed well over the last few IPL seasons but probably not as much in the domestic circuit, Samson said he has started to understand his game better.
He said playing most of his cricket in Kerala and Jaipur has helped him in adapting to the hot and humid conditions of the UAE better.
“I am in a very good space mentally. I have worked closely with our video analyst for four to five months and that really helped me improve.”
RR have just pulled off an IPL record chase and asked if his team would prefer batting second in the coming matches, he spoke about their strengths.
“We have a very well-balanced team, good bowling strength, we are confident with our batting lineup, we bat deep with even someone like Shreyas Gopal batting at No nine. But a lot depends on the conditions.” said Samson.
(With inputs from PTI)