Rajasthan Royals’ Sanju Samson and Kolkata Knight Riders’ Nitish Rana are two of the brightest young Indian stars on the horizon of IPL. Both have helped their teams to crushing victories in the ongoing IPL 11 season.
Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders were playing each other at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium and it was a rare opportunity for the families of cricketers Nitish Rana and Sanju Samson to watch the game from the stand
Though the two young stars are rivals in the T20 league, their families actually are connected from a long time back. Samson’s father Vishwanath and Rana’s father Anil were constables in Delhi police. Anil, a fast-bowling all-rounder, had taken Nitish under his wing and Vishwanath was mentoring his two sons Sanju and elder bother Sally.
“We would meet each other during practice. Viswanath was part of the football team and I played cricket. Most days I would be coming for practice and he would have finished or the other way around. When both the boys started playing cricket for their respective states and IPL teams, we renewed a friendship that had begun when we both represented Delhi Police,” says Anil, who is a sub-inspector.
Vishwanath took voluntary retirement in 2008 and moved back to Vizhinjam after Sanju almost quit the game when he was not being selected for an age-group team in Delhi.
“Whenever I come to Delhi, I do call on Rana ji and Anil ji. Last year, I had visited their home. It was great to catch up and recall the good old days. We have common friends and we do get together whenever I come to Delhi to play football with my old colleagues,” says Vishwanath.
“The families are friends and Sanju and Rana are also in touch with each other. But when it comes to cricket both of them are competitive. I would actually would say both the families are competitive. But once the game is over, we will speak to each other again. After all, a lot of our friendship is based on the cricketing journeys of our sons,” says Dara Singh, Nitish’s uncle.
Nitish came on top in the encounter between their teams, as KKR defeated RR by 7 wickets, as Rana hit 35* and took two wickets. Samson was, however, dismissed for 7 runs.
The two will get to face off once more, when their teams clash again in Kolkata on May 15.
(With indianexpress.com inputs)