"I used to find fielding very boring" - Sanju Samson Interview
Amidst all the negative news surrounding Rajasthan Royals in IPL 6, while one player from Kerala was surrounded by all the unwanted news, another lad from the southern Indian state was garnering positive reviews and appreciation.
Sanju Viswanath Samson, born on November 11, 1994, caught everyone’s attention with eye-catching performances for the Royals in IPL 6, which was also his first season in the T20 league. For his sure-footed performances in crunch situations, the 18-year-old was awarded the ‘Best Young Player of the Season’ award in an official poll.
Sanju was named the vice-captain of the U-19 Indian side led by Vijay Zol, which is currently in Australia for a tri-series involving the hosts and their Trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand.
The wicketkeeper-batsman was in conversation with Sportskeeda recently. Here’s an excerpt:
After a great IPL, now the vice-captain of the U-19 side. You seem to be riding on a high. How has the IPL helped you?
It’s a great tournament, especially for youngsters like me. It’s a great opportunity to rub shoulders with the cricketing greats and get a feel of playing in front of a large crowd. Also, it helps us gain some valuable experience and help us become a better cricketer.
Kerala seems to be churning out quite a few young cricketers. How has the scene changed in Kerala cricket?
Kerala always had a pool of talented cricketers. It’s just now that everyone is more focused on playing their natural game and not worry about the runs. Of course, getting runs is important, but it’s not the sole focus [while playing the game].
You made your Ranji Trophy debut in 2011, but this was the season you have been exceptional with the bat as well as behind the stumps. Have you changed anything in your style of play?
I have changed nothing with regards to my playing style. Last year was a very tough Ranji season for me. I scored 2 runs from 3 matches. I was very low [on confidence] but my parents helped me overcome that phase. I remained positive and thankfully was able to leave it behind me.
It was like a dream come true for me. I was very excited and at the same time pretty nervous about playing alongside such greats. However, they both are excellent players and made things very easy for me. It felt great to be with them.
You’re still a teenager, but the thing that has stood out about you is that you handle the pressure well. Does that come naturally to you?
I have learnt a lot [about handling such situations] from my seniors in Kerala. I always knew that it is a tough job to play with and against international cricketers, therefore I prepared myself for it.
You’re already touted as the next big wicket-keeper batsman from India after MS Dhoni. How do you react to that?
This is the first time I am hearing of it and will take that as a big compliment. However, as of now my focus is to do well in the U-19 tournaments which are coming up.
Wicket-keeping is a thankless job and involves a lot of hard work. What made you choose it as a career?
I was 11-years-old when my parents shifted to Kerala from Delhi. I used to bowl off-spin for a while and I found fielding very boring. Wicketkeeping was more interesting and kept me busy therefore I took it.