Sanju Samson’s stocks as a limited-overs batsman have gone a notch above in IPL 2018. The stylish right-hander finished the season with 441 runs from 15 innings and was the second highest run-getter for the Rajasthan Royals after Jos Buttler (548 runs in 13 innings).
In his recent interview with Sportskeeda, Samson reflected on his stellar IPL 2018 campaign, saying: “I'm a very big believer in improving with every tournament I play. My aim was to perform better from the last season with the Delhi Daredevils. This time, I was more responsible and I played according to the wicket and opponent and according to what my team wanted me to do.”
“That's what I liked about this year's IPL. I didn't go "bang bang" and play it like a T20 format. Instead, I played according to the situation. Playing on a ground like Jaipur is quite different as it is a very big ground and the wicket is quite slow. You need to be sensible and smart and play a cricketing shot to get runs. So, that's what I did and I think I had a good time out there,” he added.
When asked to share his thoughts on Rajasthan’s performance this season, Samson said: “It was a very challenging season for a team like Rajasthan Royals. We faced a lot of challenges throughout the season. Initially, we lost Steve Smith as a captain and as a batsman and then we lost our two best players before the playoffs. So there were a lot of challenges but we did really well to finish in the top four despite all these challenges and despite having quite a young team. I think it was a good tournament for us.”
Rajasthan finished the league phase at No.4, having won 7 of their 14 games. During the eliminator against Kolkata Knight Riders, Royals lost the plot despite having an upper hand in the major part of the match. RR were cruising at one stage when Samson and skipper Ajinkya Rahane were batting.
“We started off really well as we took four wickets in the first 12 overs. From there, Dinesh Karthik played really well to get them to a good score and Andre Russell went berserk in the last few overs, to get to a good score. From there, with our batting line-up, our top batsmen should have taken the responsibility to finish off the match,” he explained.
Talking about Rahane’s leadership during the cash-rich event, the 23-year-old said: “Ajinkya Rahane is a tremendous human being and is very balanced mentally and really good leader. We had a lot of ups and downs throughout the season and Rahane never changed the way he talked and was always very calm when he spoke to all of us. He was very encouraging and positive. It was a challenging season for him personally as a batsman but he was a really great captain to all of us.”
Despite boasting a stellar domestic record, Samson has played just 1 T20 international for India thus far. On being asked if he should have got more opportunities in the national team, the Kerala batsman said: “I think we have a very strong national team and it's not easy to get into. I feel I'm ready to get into the team and I'm just waiting for my opportunity to play for them.”
Samson concluded by talking about his upcoming assignments with the India A side.
“I think it will be a very different tour [tri-series in England] for us. We have toured Australia a couple of times and have toured South Africa as well. Going to England and playing a team like West Indies A and England A, it will be quite different. We are quite excited to play in those conditions and playing with different teams. We are all training really well,” he signed-off.