Although the 27-year-old couldn’t get past India, he scored a brilliant half-century in his first ODI in Lucknow. Crucially, his 86 undefeated tackles got the squad talking about whether he deserved a spot in that World Cup squad.
While his drive over the ropes has wowed Samson’s fans, his propensity to hit big shots too early in the rounds often puts him off, disappointed many people. But in the game against South Africa, he showed that he has the patience to save his time before going wild.
A first-rate player for the Kerala and Rajasthan Royals, Sanju shows he can also adapt to the demands of a No.6 on the court providing some seam and turn movement. His innings were flawless.
Sanju was guilty of not performing his late-game attack when the tailers came in, but his thoughts were clear.
Sanju Samson (AP Photo)
“I enjoy spending time playing football, especially in an Indian shirt. We play to win the game. I missed by just two shots, one four and one six. Shamsi proved to be a bit expensive so we thought we could target him. I know he has one left so if we need 24 runs I’m confident I can hit four six. So I went into it. That was our plan,” he said.
Former India U-19 player Raiphi Vincent Gomez, whom Sanju spends a lot of time training at home Thiruvananthapuramconsiders his former teammate’s shot to be his best shot in an Indian shirt.
“He has shown great maturity. When he hit Shamsi to his first six balls in the closing final, the South African players looked confused even though we had 24 more balls left. They fear Sanju might break it. That shows how much Sanju has developed as a player and how scared the opposition has been for him,” Raiphi said.
Gomez, who is currently coaching Puducherry in the domestic ring, also gave an insight into Sanju’s coaching methodology.
“We try to improve his contact point (the point where the ball hits the club) while hitting the ball. It’s an important area to work in for a stroke doctor like Sanju. We try to simulate different match situations so he can figure out what kind of shot he wants to play in the match,” Raiphi said.