I feel I'm ready to get into the national team, says Sanju Samson after great IPL season
He burst onto the scene as a teenager a few years ago and took the cricketing world by storm with his performances in the domestic circuit and the IPL. However, Sanju Samson, the youngster from Kerala, has played just one T20I so far for the Indian cricket team.
Despite consistently performing well, chances with the national team have eluded him. Such is the competition present to get into the Indian cricket team.
However, he continues to perform well and make a huge impact for whichever team he plays for.
The 23-year-old from Kerala had his best IPL season till date, scoring over 400 runs through the course of the tournament, which included a spectacular knock of 92 against the Royal Challengers Bangalore at the beginning of the tournament. He ended the tournament with three half-centuries and helped his side, the Rajasthan Royals, reach the playoffs.
Sportskeeda caught up with him for an exclusive chat, speaking about the recently concluded IPL season and more.
Here are the excerpts from the interviews.
Q. What are your thoughts on RR's performance this season?
It was a very challenging season for a team like Rajasthan Royals. We faced a lot of challenges throughout the season. Initially, we lost Steve Smith as a captain and as a batsman and then we lost our two best players before the playoffs. So there were a lot of challenges but we did really well to finish in the top four despite all these challenges and despite having quite a young team. I think it was a good tournament for us.
Q. Where do you think it went wrong in the end?
We started off really well as we took four wickets in the first 12 overs. From there, Dinesh Karthik played really well to get them to a good score and Andre Russell went berserk in the last few overs, to get to a good score. From there, with our batting line-up, our top batsmen should have taken the responsibility to finish off the match
Q. You had your best season so far, scoring more than 400 runs for the first time. What did you do differently this year?
I'm a very big believer in improving with every tournament I play. My aim was to perform better from the last season with the Delhi Daredevils. This time, I was more responsible and I played according to the wicket and opponent and according to what my team wanted me to do.
That's what I liked about this year's IPL. I didn't go "bang bang" and play it like a T20 format. Instead, I played according to the situation. Playing on a ground like Jaipur is quite different as it is a very big ground and the wicket is quite slow. You need to be sensible and smart and play a cricketing shot to get runs. So, that's what I did and I think I had a good time out there.
Q. What do you have to say about Ajinkya Rahane as a captain?
Ajinkya Rahane is a tremendous human being and is very balanced mentally and really good leader. We had a lot of ups and downs throughout the season and Rahane never changed the way he talked and was always very calm when he spoke to all of us. He was very encouraging and positive. It was a challenging season for him personally as a batsman but he was a really great captain to all of us.
Q. And Shane Warne?
Getting to know Shane Warne was a great experience for all of us. He is a very positive person and a dominating character and he likes to play his cricket like that as well. His cricketing sense is unbelievable. He was helping us with batting as well and was giving me a lot of tips throughout the season. His planning and strategies were great to listen to and overall, it was a fantastic experience.
Q. You have a stellar domestic record but you have played just 1 T20 international so far. Do you feel that you should have got more opportunities with the national team?
I think we have a very strong national team and it's not easy to get into. I feel I'm ready to get into the team and I'm just waiting for my opportunity to play for them.
Q. You are playing for India A in the upcoming series. What are your thoughts?
I think it will be a very different tour for us. We have toured Australia a couple of times and have toured South Africa as well. Going to England and playing a team like West Indies A and England A, it will be quite different. We are quite excited to play in those conditions and playing with different teams. We are all training really well.
Q. What are your thoughts on the youngsters like Shubman Gill and Prithvi Shaw, who are also playing for India A?
There is no shortage of talent in India. Every year, if you look at the domestic tournaments and the IPL, someone new comes up. The quality of players we have in India A or India side is very high. I'm just waiting to play with them and get to know them personally.