Sanju Samson is considered to be one of India's brightest batting prospects for the near future © IANS
Sanju Samson is considered to be one of India’s brightest batting prospects for the near future © IANS


By Bharat Sharma


New Delhi: May 5, 2014


It has been a while since teenaged batsman Sanju Samson was touted as India‘s next big star and the latest to have spotted his “serious potential” is former Pakistan captain Rameez Raja.


“Sanju Samson is very talented and there are quite a few other batsmen who are good to watch. I think you have got to admire the 19 and 20-year olds. I would say that Sanju has got some serious potential,” Raja told PTI when asked about the upcoming Indian batting talent.


The Kerala batsman was the find of the 2013 Indian Premier League and has not done any bad so far this season. He struck a stylish 52 against Kings XI Punjab in Sharjah and enthralled the Ferozshah Kotla crowd on Saturday before throwing his wicket away on 34.


Ask about the batting talent in Pakistan, Raja takes a pause before managing a response.


“It is always bowling that attracts you as a Pakistani fan. There is a lot of variety. Batting wise, I actually want more talent to come through. That is one area we are lacking.


“Let’s hope more technicians come through the ranks. But for that to happen, there is a need to make the domestic circuit more competitive and vibrant,” says Raja, who as a cricket commentator is as popular in India as he is back home.


Another significant development has taken place in the dynamic environment of Pakistan cricket. Fast bowling great Waqar Younis is set to return as the national team’s head coach and will be working alongside former teammate Moin Khan, who has been assigned the dual role of being chief selector and manager.


“I would say it is a good choice. What more do I say as I have played with him. What is important here is that Waqar is very keen to be the coach and he is someone who should be given a proper tenure. The partnership of Waqar and Moin should also work as they know each other well and have played together,” reckons Raja.


Like every other lover of Pakistan cricket, the 51-year-old is pained by the lack of international matches in the country following the attack on the Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore in 2009.


“It is really hard to play outside Pakistan for such a long time. Somebody like Umar Akmal has played 90 plus ODIs and not one of them has been at home. You want to perform in front of your home crowd, use the familiar conditions,” says Raja adding it would be great to have an India-Pakistan series in the near future.


Despite the embargo, he feels the team has done well.


“There is not one team that has played outside home for around five years and has been reasonably consistent. Pakistan have managed to do that. It is a very good side but I want them to be champion material everytime they are on the field,” he signs off.