Samson fixed on job ahead
At the first-class level for almost nine years and making his international debut in 2015, Sanju Samson has so far donned India colours on just four occasions.
All four of his India appearances have been in T20Is. After his debut versus Zimbabwe in Harare, the 25-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman from Kerala had to wait for almost four-and-a-half years for his next international game.
Impressive knocks at the domestic circuit did earn him India berths. But he had to remain as a back-up keeper-batsman most of the time before being finally picked in the XI for a home T20I versus Sri Lanka and two inconsequential matches against New Zealand earlier this year.
Samson, though, is in no mood to crib as all that matters to him at present is a good, successful IPL, where he has been a consistent performer for Rajasthan Royals since last year. And to make his case stronger for more opportunities in India’s final XI, he knows he needs to keep scoring runs in the IPL as well as in other competitions.
“Well, playing for India on a regular basis is obviously my goal and to be there I know I need to score as many runs as possible across competitions. The IPL happens to be the tournament I’ll be playing now and it’s also a really competitive one.
“So it’s important I score runs in the IPL or anywhere else and give myself the best possible chance,” Samson told The Telegraph from Dubai.
Having Jos Buttler as a teammate in Royals is well and truly a privilege for Samson as he does look forward to learn more from the Englishman who’s one of the best keeper-batsmen today in the white-ball format.
“It’s wonderful to have been around someone like Buttler and he has been really kind to talk to me about a lot of things regarding the game and a few other things outside cricket too.
“I have observed him a lot and learnt several things regarding how he prepares himself and his response to pressure situations in the game. This season again, I hope to gain a lot from his presence and work together for the Royals,” Samson emphasised.
Samson is also not too concerned with the stiff competition he could face from other keeper-batsmen in this IPL, especially Kings XI Punjab captain KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant of Delhi Capitals.
“See, I don’t believe in comparing myself too much with others. I just want to focus on my own game and maintain good momentum in the tournament,” he explained.
Adapting to the slow wickets in the UAE, Samson agreed, will be a challenge. But he’s game for it.
“I’m always looking to adapt to the situation of the game. However, I do like to play my strokes. So, it’ll be a challenge to bat on those surfaces. It’ll be vital to be mentally switched on at all times and keep my head in the right space.”