Kottayam: Kerala’s own ‘master blaster’ Sanju V Samson has already donned Indian colors in Twenty20 and is considered a player for the future. He has had an exceptional domestic and IPL season last year and is one of the six finalists for the Manorama Sports Star 2017, Kerala’s biggest sports award instituted by Malayala Manorama in association with Santa Monica Tours and Travels.
“Sanju has proved that he deserves a place in the Indian team. Now, it is up to the selectors to decide,” Kerala Ranji team coach Dav Whatmore was quoted as saying after the right-hander played a stellar role to help the team seal a historic quarterfinal berth in the premier domestic competition.
Echoing his remarks, national chief selector M S K Prasad said: “I’m extremely pleased with Sanju’s run of good scores this season. He has been able to perform so consistency. It bodes well for him as well as the Indian cricket which is looking for more options to add depth to the team.”
Doing justice to his immense talent, the explosive batsman put behind a disappointing 2016-17 Ranji season and found his touch. He carried the Kerala team on his shoulders to the Ranji quarterfinals. His impressive show in the domestic circuit was rewarded when he was snapped up by Rajasthan Royals for Rs 8 crore in the 2018 IPL auction.
In fact, there was a fierce bidding war for him between Royals and three-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians. Sanju’s ability to bat at any position coupled with his wicketkeeping prowess made him one of the hot properties in the auction.
In the last IPL edition, Sanju, playing for Delhi Daredevils, amassed 386 runs from 14 matches that included a ton and two half-centuries. It was his best performance in the IPL. In the Ranji Trophy too he came up with a career-best performance, scoring 577 runs, including two blistering centuries and three fifties, from six matches.
In the meantime, Sanju got a chance to captain the Board President’s XI and he made most of the opportunity by scoring a fine century against the visiting Sri Lankan side. He almost single-handedly pulled his team out of danger with a masterly 128 as wickets fell at regular intervals at the other end.
The 23-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman is one of the front-runners in the race to become Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s successor in Team India.
“I’m not worried about the burden of expectations. I was able to play well last season. More than personal achievements, I’m happy to have contributed to the team’s success. It is a great honor to be one of the finalists for the Manorama Sports Star 2017 Award. I’m thankful to all Keralites for their unconditional love and support,” Sanju said.
The young Sanju has showed composure and maturity beyond his years. No wonder he has earned words of praise from stalwarts in the cricketing world.
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