Sanju Samson Feels It's A 'Proud Moment' To Captain Rajasthan Royals In IPL 2021
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Sanju Samson Feels It’s A ‘Proud Moment’ To Captain Rajasthan Royals In IPL 2021

Sanju Samson Deepak Malik/SPORTZPICS
Sanju Samson Deepak Malik/SPORTZPICS

Sanju Samson knew he was going to be named the new captain of Rajasthan Royals (RR) a while before it was made public. He couldn’t resist sharing the news with his close circle—his parents and wife Charu.

Ahead of IPL 2021, Sanju Samson talks about his take on leadership, how he received congratulatory messages from Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni, having Kumar Sangakkara—RR’s director of cricket—on board, and why he wouldn’t want to place too much emphasis on RR’s latest and most expensive recruit, Chris Morris.

Chris Morris Becomes the Most Expensive Player in IPL Auction History as Rajasthan Royals Get Him For Rs 16.25 Crore
Chris Morris Becomes the Most Expensive Player in IPL Auction History as Rajasthan Royals Get Him For Rs 16.25 Crore(© IANS)

Sanju Samson Looks At Captaincy As A More Of A Service To The Team

In this chat with HT ahead of the 2021 IPL season, the wicketkeeper-batsman from Kerala talks about his take on leadership, having Kumar Sangakkara—RR’s director of cricket—to support him in his new role and why he wouldn’t want to place too much emphasis on RR’s latest and most expensive recruit, Chris Morris.

“It was tough keeping it to myself,” he said with a smile. After it was officially announced, a few text messages gave the 26-year-old “special little moments” to cherish. “I got some nice congratulatory messages from Virat, Rohit and Mahi,” the soft-spoken Sanju Samson recalled.

” I look at captaincy as more of a service to the team. A captain is someone who is there to provide the right kind of atmosphere that every individual requires in a team and backs each one of them. The Royals have a quality bunch of great players and amazing support staff backing them. Playing for one team for this long to now becoming captain, it’s a proud moment,” on leadership experience captaining Kerala and India U-19 team

Sanju Samson in action during IPL 2020 | Sportzpics for BCCI
Rajasthan Royals’ Sanju Samson in action during IPL 2020 | Sportzpics for BCCI

The wicketkeeper-batsman has a long association with Rajasthan Royals but he never ever imagined leading the franchise one day. Sanju Samson scored 375 runs averaging 28.84 in IPL 2020 with 3 fifties. He has amassed 2584 runs in 107 IPL games averaging 27.78. He played for Rajasthan Royals from 2013 but was associated with the Delhi franchise in 2016 and 2017 when Rajasthan was banned for two seasons for the match-fixing offence.

Sanju Samson Opens Up On Kumar Sangakkara And Chris Morris

The Kerala-born batsman revealed that the team owner himself called and asked him to take up the role of skipper. Notably, Steve Smith, who captained the Rajasthan-based franchise in IPL 13, was released ahead of the upcoming season. Rajasthan Royals will play their first game on April 12 against Punjab Kings in Mumbai.

“Sanga is a legend; not just because of his cricket. He is a wonderful person to interact with. That takes a lot of pressure off me. When we had our first chat, I just felt I was blessed to be with him. I couldn’t have asked for anything more than having Sanga as my partner in this role.” on Kumar Sangakkara the director of cricket.

“It’s about how you take it, really. I’ve always felt a wicketkeeper is the best judge on a cricket field. He can see a lot more things, analyze the game better, and is one step ahead.  If you feel you’re in the best position to lead the team as a wicketkeeper, then it becomes a lot easier,” on 4 wicket-keeper batsmen leading IPL teams in 2021- Sanju Samson, Rishabh Pant, MS Dhoni and KL Rahul.

Before his retirement, Kumar Sangakkara played six years of IPL cricket Getty Images
Before his retirement, Kumar Sangakkara played six years of IPL cricket Getty Images

“I don’t think we did too much wrong in the last season. If you look at our XI on paper, we’re one of the best. So I would like to tell everyone that we are a great bunch of players and we just need to play some good cricket. If we are in the right mindset as a team, I believe good things are ahead of us,” on RR finishing last in IPL 2020

“I would not like to put him (Morris) under too much pressure or tell him that he’s the biggest member of this team. Everyone has a big role to play; even someone bowling one over might have a crucial role. But we’re excited to have Morris back,” on Chris Morris.

Jofra Archer who was the Most Valuable Player Of The Tournament in IPL 2020 may miss the entire IPL 2021 which is a cause of concern for the franchise. Rajasthan Royals finished last season at the bottom of the table with 12 points from their 14 matches.

At the auction, RR spent Rs 24.20 crore on buying players. South Africa all-rounder Chris Morris was snapped up by the franchise at Rs 16.25 crore, in the process becoming the most expensive player in the history of the league.

They spent Rs 4.4 crore on Shivam Dube while Chetan Sakariya (Rs 1.2 crore), Mustafizur Rahman (Rs 1 crore), Liam Livingstone (Rs 75 lakh), KC Cariappa (Rs 20 lakh), Kuldip Yadav (Rs 20 lakh), Akash Singh (Rs20 lakh) will also feature for the team this season.

Probable Rajasthan Royals XI: Yasahasvi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler (wk), Sanju Samson (c), Ben Stokes, Shivam Dube, Rahul Tewatia, Chris Morris, Shreyas Gopal, Mustafizur Rahman, Kartik Tyagi, Jaydev Unadkat