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Sanju Samson has Rahul Dravid’s grit and AB de Villiers’ flair: Biju George

Sanju Samson © Getty Images
Sanju Samson © Getty Images

By B D Narayankar

Bangalore: Aug 7, 2014

Indian cricket’s rising star Sanju Samson‘s coach Biju George feels that his ward possesses the grit of Rahul Dravid as well as the flair of AB de Villiers which will make him a special player for India in the coming days.

“Sanju is a combination of Dravid and AB as he is a package of flamboyance and dogged determination. He is as flamboyant and as determined as Dravid is,” George told PTI in an exclusive interview.

The Kerala youngster has earned his maiden call-up in the senior national side for the five-match ODI series in England. Though Sanju is a flamboyant and aggressive batsman, he does have the intensity to play long innings. ”He exudes Dravid’s intensity to build innings and play for a long time in the middle. He knows to pace the innings as Dravid does,” he said.

“Every time he talks to Dravid, he gets to learn more about the game,” George, who also works as a Coach with Sports Authority of India [SAI], said about his favourite student, who has been under Dravid’s guidance at the Rajasthan Royals.

Of late Sanju, who was the leading run-getter for India A in their victorious campaign in the quadrangular one-day series in Australia with 244 runs from seven matches, has been following AB for his flamboyant attitude towards the game – whether he is batting, fielding or wicket-keeping, George said. Samson is a batsman-wicketkeeper because he has a very good technique as a batsman and plays aggressively too.

“Even if he attacks, he plays it with a straight bat – never plays across the line. He adopts new tactics to put pressure on oppsoition bowlers,” he said. Sanju’s wicket-keeping also is coming off well, George added.

Asked whether he sees Sanju adapting to longer version in near future, George said “He has made 530 runs in the Ranji Trophy 2013-14 at 58.88 [in Group C] and also hit two centuries and a double hundred in 15 first-class matches.”

Samson, who has been prolific at Under-19 tournaments, also had a productive season with Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2014 with 339 runs at an average of 26.07 and a strike-rate of 124.17. Asked where he would fit into the scheme of Dhoni if he is picked in the playing XI against England in one-day matches, George said Samson has the ability to play at any position because he has a good batting technique.

“He can play up the order, in the middle or act as a finisher – He can adopt to any given condition,” he said. Asked whether he has the ability to step into the shoes of Dhoni once he retires, George said, “I hope so and also pray to God that it happens.”

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