Days after returning from India A’s tour of Australia, 19-year old Kerala wicketkeeper batsman Sanju Samson could not have wished for anything better than breaking into the senior side. The teenager who has been picked ahead of senior batsman Yuvraj Singh is already a famed name in Indian domestic cricket.
At an early age Sanju showcased his skills on the cricket field when as a captain of Kerala under-13 he smashed numerous centuries in the South Zone Under-13 tournament and then made his cut into Kerala Under-19 team. Sanju was only 16 years old when he made his first-class debut against Vidarbha in a Ranji Trophy Plate League match season 2011/12.In his first outing Sanju came to bat at number eight and lasted only 12 balls for his three runs. In next match against Services he was promoted up the order but failed to get off the mark and was out for a duck. In 2nd innings he scored just one run and then was dropped for Kerala’s next Ranji assignments that season.
His woeful form continued as in Under-19 Asia Cup 2012 Sanju scored only 14 runs from three innings and subsequently was not picked for U-19 World Cup later that year. He then showed his class with a fine century against Himachal Pradesh in the opening game of Ranji Trophy 2012/13 season. Sanju smashed unbeaten 127 runs batting at number five and then backed it up with a fine looking 30 in the 2nd innings. He then ended the productive season with another ton and a fifty in a match against Andhra, that season he scored 377 runs at an average of 41.88 in 10 innings and started creating waves in the domestic circuit.
In 2013 then came the IPL contract as he played for Rajasthan Royals in the lucrative league. He looked a complete batsman and had technique to play any kind of stroke. He impressed one and all as he went on exhibiting his talent. In the last Ranji season (2013/14) he scored530 runs at an average of 58.88 and then in IPL 2014 he once again displayed his skill with the bat.
Many former cricketers and commentators have showered praises for Sanju and consider him as the flag bearer of Indian cricket. In recently finished quadrangular one-day series in Australia Sanju was the leading run scorer for India A, In seven matches the youngster registered 244 runs including couple of match winning knocks.
Sanju’s artistic stroke making is what sets him different from the league and very early on in his career he has achieved the phenomenal feat of representing India at an International level.It is now a step forward for this teenager, who will step into his 20s coming November and tour to England will be a learning curve for him. Let’s hope we see the shades of Tendulkar, Dravid and Gangulyin him when he takes field.