Sanju Samson  © IANS
Sanju Samson © IANS

Jaipur: The youngest cricketer to captain a Ranji Trophy side Sanju Samson has many firsts to his credit in domestic cricket. He is also the youngest player to score a half-century in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Champions League Twenty20. The youngest batsman to score 1,000 runs in the IPL, he was in Jaipur to attend the first coaching camp organised in the city prior to the start of IPL session 11.

“I am blessed to be back in Rajasthan Royals and want to give my best to the team,” an excited Samson told IANS. This specialist wicketkeeper-batsman is quite keen and excited to meet legendary leg-spinner Shane Warne, the team’s coach, whom he has never met till date. ”I am eagerly awaiting my meeting with Warne and am looking forward to play under his directions. As I have never met him, my excitement is all the more increasing with each passing day. I will definitely be learning a lot from the veteran player,” he said.

When asked if the team is under pressure to give the best after a break of two years, he said that pressure has literally gone down as excitement and happiness has gone up. ”Rajasthan Royals is known for its excitement, thrill, happiness and its players are known to be helpful to each other and hence I am delighted to be back in the team. There is no pressure kind of thing among players,” he added.

When asked if he faces competition from Jose Butler who is yet another specialist wicketkeeper-batsman, Samson asserted that he has never been worried on his  selection issue or with competition. ”I strongly believe in giving my best,” he said.

“Butler is a match winner and a fantastic player and I admire him for what he is. Also, I strongly believe in team management and will be happy to do whatever my management wants me to do,” he added.

Asked how he perceived his international career given the tough competition from Rishabh Pant of Delhi who is an explosive batsman and wicketkeeper too, he said: “I am concentrating on batting better as a cricketer; I really want to get better at what I am and improve my skills. Selection is not in my hand and hence I have stopped thinking in that direction.”

This boy from Kerala loves visiting beaches, playing football, water surfing and spending time with families and friends.

Born to Lijy and Samson Viswanath, he gives credit for his success to his father who was formerly a constable in Delhi Police and played a key role in shaping his  cricket career. Samson is of the opinion that right guidance at the right time with the right suggestion from your guide is a must for budding cricketers.
He feels that emerging players badly need the right mentors and hence he recently launched his sports academy in Thiruvananthapuram.

“This academy will bring out talents in the stream of cricket and football. I will not be directly linked to it, but my family will be contributing there,” he added.  Samson’s father, who represented Delhi Police in football, will be coordinating the academy. The cricketer says that it was his father’s idea that along with cricket, the academy should also train talent in football.

“This is not an academy started for monetary or capital benefits, but it is for service for the society; I live in coastal area, which I feel is in dire need of mentors,” he said.  ”The players in the interiors of the country are ready to work out day in and day out but they don’t get right guidance. Hence, I took the initiative and launched it.”

When asked why he decided to take up cricket, he replied that his father used to be a football player and hence he got a sports environment right in his family.  “I enjoyed sports, had a background and hence I automatically headed in this direction,” he said.