IPL 2020 – How Virat Kohli helped change Sanju Samson’s perspective towards cricket
National recall can wait, “I think I should keep my focus on the IPL right now”
Sanju Samson has wowed the IPL-watching public with his power-hitting this season. The secret to his form, Samson has revealed, is a conversation with Virat Kohli while at the gym, one that has changed the 25-year-old Rajasthan Royals wicketkeeper-batsman’s attitude towards his game.
“[I had] one amazing experience when I was in the Indian team,” Samson, who has so far hit a 32-all 74 and a 42-ball 85, said in a press interaction. “I was in the gym training with Virat bhai. I keep asking him why he puts so much energy into fitness, I keep asking him a lot of different questions. Then he asked me, ‘Sanju how many years you are going to be playing?’ And I said, ‘I’m 25 now so for ten years or so.’ He told me, ‘Then give everything to these ten years and you can have your favourite food from Kerala after that, but you won’t be able to play cricket after these ten years so why don’t you give whatever you have in these ten years?’
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“That changed the perspective of my dedication to cricket. I was really happy to hear that from him.”
Samson’s first India call-up came in 2015, but he fell off the national radar soon after. He was on the fringes of national selection subsequently, and earned a recall after a gap of nearly five years for the T20Is against Sri Lanka and New Zealand earlier this year. But he made single-digit scores in the three chances he got.
I never think of playing like MS Dhoni. What I love to be is like myself, understand what is Sanju Samson
“May be, maybe not, I’m not sure,” Samson said of his India prospects after the latest round of good IPL scores. “The only thing I know is that I’m in good form and I’m winning matches for my team and that’s what I’m preparing for throughout my career.
“Only dream is to win matches for any team I play for. I think that’s what is happening right now. I think I should keep my focus on the IPL right now.”
The range of Samson’s hitting has drawn praise from many quarters, and along with that some have likened his ability to clear the boundary at will to that of MS Dhoni.
“No one can play like him and no one should try to play like him,” Samson said of the comparison. “It’s not at all easy to play like MS Dhoni, or think to play like MS Dhoni, so we need to leave that aside. He’s one of the best finishers to play this wonderful game.
“I never think of playing like MS Dhoni. What I love to be is like myself, understand what is Sanju Samson.”
Sruthi Ravindranath is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo