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‘If a guy from Kerala has to cement his place in Team India…’: Sanju Samson drops matter-of-fact take on ‘competition’

Sanju Samson opened up over his national team career and the changes he had to make in his game to stay in contention for a spot in the side.

For India’s star wicketkeeper-batter Sanju Samson, the journey in the national team has been a mix of ups and downs. Inconsistency has plagued Samson’s run in Team India, but he has certainly shown glimpses of his talents with some memorable knocks for the side over the years. Samson is currently part of the Indian white-ball setup and was in the T20I squad in the side’s last series against Afghanistan.

Sanju Samson (c) with India’s captain Rohit Sharma (R) during a practice session (PTI)

In recent years, Samson has dedicated himself to honing his aggressive style of play, which has reaped rewards in shorter formats. As the captain of the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League, the Kerala wicketkeeper-batsman has consistently impressed with stellar performances. In the 2023 season, Samson boasted a strike rate of 153.39, amassing 362 runs in 14 innings. The previous year, he notched up 458 runs, leading his team to the tournament final.

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Despite the Indian call-ups, Samson acknowledges the need to continually evolve and enhance his game to remain competitive amidst the ever-growing talent pool within the Indian team.

“When you are playing cricket in the world’s best country… India is no.1 in the world… the number of players, the number of talent and the competitions we have… a guy from Kerala. if he has to come and cement his place in the national side, he has to do something special,” Samson told Star Sports on their show Star Nahi Far. 

“I always wanted to stand out with the way I bat… create my own style. No matter if it’s the first ball, I wanted to go out there and hit a six. That was the shift in the mindset. I wanted to do something different. Why do we have to wait for ten balls to hit a six? That was the motive behind the development of my power-hitting.”

Competition for WK spots

Over the past few years, Team India has seen a number of wicketkeeper-batters bursting into the scene. Following Rishabh Pant’s accident in December 2022 that ruled him out for the entirety of the next year, the side saw the emergence of Ishan Kishan, with the likes of Jitesh Sharma and Dhruv Jurel also making their national team debuts across different formats.

In addition, KL Rahul kept the wickets during the ODI World Cup in 2023 and also played the same role during the Test series against South Africa.

“I put in a lot of effort during Covid times, a lot of people helped me. I’m very happy, things are coming on nice. The grind keeps on going, I’m never satisfied. I just want to go on and keep doing something spectacular for the side that I play for,” Samson concluded.


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