Thanks to a successful bid of 8 crores in the IPL Auction, Sanju Samson has joined Ajinkya Rahane and Stuart Binny back in the Royals fold – and expect an ‘SAS’ hard hitting task force dominating the upcoming IPL as he teams up with Ben Stokes to thrash the opposition bowlers to all parts of the ground. Sanju originally signed for the Royals in 2013 – and started well. In his IPL debut against Kings XI, he held two smart catches and ran an opponent out from behind the stumps. He also excelled with the bat, arriving at the crease with his team in trouble on 79 for 4 and hitting a composed 27 runs to help the Royals reach their target of 126. Samson also starred in his second match – against RCB. The Royals were chasing a target of 172 when Sanju was promoted to number three in the batting order. He laid the foundation for a Royals victory with an impeccable 63 off 41 balls. With that knock, the 18 year old became the youngest player to score an IPL half-century.
Sanju’s good form continued in the 2013 Champions League T20. He scored 192 runs in six matches including three half centuries with an average of 39 runs at a strike rate of 127. He had a great tournament, hitting 22 fours and 5 sixes along with holding 5 catches and securing a stumping. In the following IPL, Sanju was one of the leading run getters for the Royals, so it was no surprise that he caught the attention of the Indian selectors. Sanju was called up for the 2014 Quadrangular A-Team One-Day Series in Australia and took to international cricket like a duck to water. Sanju finished as India A’s highest run-scorer with 244 runs from seven innings including two fifties. His overall average was a whopping 81.33. Samson was only dismissed three times! Sanju was rightly lauded by Indian coach Abhay Sharma for his temperament and batting technique – he called the rookie keeper ‘the future for India’. On August 5th 2014, Sanju was selected to the 17-man squad to play against England in five ODIs and a T20. However, he did not make it to the final team on any of the matches and remained a backup keeper to MS Dhoni. Sanju finally made his international debut against Zimbabwe – a worthy achievement for a superlative cricketer. Now he has returned to the IPL team that gave him his first big chance, the Royals can expect more fireworks from the Kerala Cracker!
To learn more about how Sanju Samson has performed for Rajasthan Royals, go to our Royals Legends section.