Sanju Samson – The ‘Royal’ Cracker
The 18-year-old wicket keeper batsman, Sanju Samson, set the trend by becoming the youngest player to hit a half-century in IPL. Born in Vizhinjam of Trivandrum district in Kerala, he started playing cricket in a very young age. He emerged as one of the prime contender to be the flag bearer of Kerala cricket. It is one of those states which is known for its popularity and following in football. He shifted to Thiruvananthapuram in his teen days after taking his early cricket lessons in the capital city of India. His father was working as a police constable in Delhi.
Sanju Samson in his younger days
He captained Kerala while playing for the state’s Under-13 team. He scored a ton in his under 13 debut. He also captained the state cricket team in Under-16 and Under-19 divisions. He was selected to play for Ranji Trophy at the age of 15, when he become All-India leading run scorer in Under-16 season. He started the Ranji Trophy season with a century against Himachal Pradesh in seamer-friendly conditions
He has a below par performance in Under-19 Asia cup, scoring only 14 runs from 3 matches. It was a huge disappointment. He became the youngest player to represent Kerala in Ranji Trophy (2012-13), at the age of 17, and scored magnificent 722 runs from 10 innings which also included two magnificent tons. His top score was 127*. However, he was very consistent with his bat and gloves that season.
Sanju Samson in IPL
Picked up by Kolkata Knight Riders in 2012 IPL season, he was in the squad, but didn’t have any chance to prove himself, and got no opportunity to make his debut that season. For 2013 season, Rajasthan Royals signed him up. He made his IPL debut this season after Rajasthan’s regular wicket keeper Dishant Yagnik failed to recover from an injury. His skills impressed in that match. In the same match, the Royals faced some anxious moments, he scored 27 runs of 23 deliveries, that won the match for his team. Media praised him by saying “ the Keralite’s calm performance won him many admirers and may prove to be one of the answers to Royals’ problems in the middle order. Also Harsha Bhogle tweeted “ Must confess I like to look Sanju Samson. First time I saw him play. Good crop coming from Kerela”
In his second IPL match against RCB, he was promoted to bat up the order at no.3, while chasing a tough target of 172. He smashed 63 off 41 balls, which made him the youngest player to hit a half-century in IPL. The previous record was held by Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Sreevats Goswami who achieved it at 19 years and 1 day. Sanju scored it in 18 years and 169 days, which just shows off his dedication toward this gentlemen’s game.
His father Samson Vishwanath had represented Delhi team in Santosh Trophy football tournament. His brother Sally is also a cricketer and plays for Kerela Under-25 team. We hope this ‘Royal’ cracker have a great future in this gentleman’s game.