Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 29 October 2020

IPL 2020: Sanju Samson putting Rajasthan Royals before India ambitions

Kerala-born batsman has been one of the stars of the competition

Sanju Samson blasted nine sixes in a remarkable innings of 74 off 32 balls to set Rajasthan Royals on their way to a 16-run win over Chennai Super Kings. Sportzpics for BCCI
Sanju Samson blasted nine sixes in a remarkable innings of 74 off 32 balls to set Rajasthan Royals on their way to a 16-run win over Chennai Super Kings. Sportzpics for BCCI

Sanju Samson says he is focused on success with Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, not his future with the India national team.

The Kerala-born batsman has been arguably the outstanding player in this IPL season so far.

His two quick-fire half-centuries in Sharjah helped lift Rajasthan to the top of the table ahead of their meeting with Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday evening.

Coincidentally, his success has come at grounds where he marked himself out as a potential India star in the making back in 2014.

Back then he was one of the standout players who won the Under 19 Asia Cup, then played in the age-group World Cup in the UAE immediately after.

Samson, though, has been restricted to four T20 international appearances for the full India side in the time since.

He played in their most recent series, in New Zealand at the start of this year, but made just three single figures scores.

“Maybe, maybe not,” Samson said about his prospects of an extended run in the India side.

“The only thing I am sure about is that I am in good form and have been performing well for my team.

“That is what I have been preparing myself for throughout my career. The only dream I have had is to win matches for my team.

“That is what is happening right now. I want to keep my focus here, and focus on the IPL right now.”

The 25-year-old wicket-keeper batsman says a conversation he had with Virat Kohli while on India duty has altered his outlook on the game.

“A really amazing experience happened when I was in the gym with the Indian team, training with Virat-bhai,” Samson said.

“I asked him about his training regimes, and why he puts so much into his fitness. I kept asking him a lot of questions.

“He asked me: ‘Sanju, how many years are you going to play?’ I said, ‘I think I can play around 10 more years, something like that.’

“He said, ‘After these 10 years, you aren’t going to be able to play cricket anymore, so why don’t you give everything you have for these 10 years?’

“I think that really changed my perspective and my dedication towards cricket. I was already dedicated, but there was something more that I could have given.

“I was really happy to hear that from him.”

Samson has hit 16 sixes in two matches so far in the tournament. He thinks his power-hitting was helped by the time spent isolation in his flat during lockdown.

“I think I understand my game. It is about power hitting when it comes to T20,” Samson said.

“I was lucky enough to have those four or five months where I was working on my strength and my power hitting, doing exercises in my gym.

“That has helped me to hit more sixes this season.”

Updated: September 30, 2020 04:07 PM

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