Sanju Samson
Sanju Samson. ©Francois Nel - IDI/IDI via Getty Images

It was the best way a day could turn out for youngster Sanju Samson. Sanju was at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium in Kochi undergoing a fitness test before the Kerala team left for the KSCA Trophy in Mysuru. To Sanju Samson’s surprise, the president of Kerala Cricket Association, TC Mathew informed the young lad about his appointment as the captain of the Kerala team. Sanju is now the youngest captain in the state’s cricket history and no wonder his face lit up like a Christmas tree.

If that was a big news for the 20-year old, a bigger surprise was coming his way. TC Mathew got a call from the chairman of national selection committee, Sandeep Patil, that Sanju Samson was named the replacement for an injured Ambati Rayudu for the remainder of the Zimbabwe tour. Sanju’s happiness knew no bounds as he reacted to the good news saying, “I didn’t expect it. I was just looking at playing well for Kerala in the KSCA trophy. This is a big surprise.”

This is the second occasion where Sanju got a call for the national side after being named in the 5-match ODI series and lone T20 squad against England in August last year. But all Samson did is warm the bench.

Sanju saw a dip in his domestic performances and the last season of IPL was also modest for him. Due to this reason, he was off the radar of the national selectors. But the young lad is determined to deliver this time around and make full use of this opportunity. “I will be looking to become more consistent and get big scores more frequently this season,” Sanju told TOI.

With MS Dhoni hanging his Test boots and with speculation that he might not be around for the shorter format too for long, Sanju Samson is seen as the potential replacement. His wicket-keeping skills and flamboyant batting could help him cement his place in the Indian team. But Sanju does not want to look that far in to the future. “I’m not looking at the future like that and I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. I’m only thinking about the present which is to get to Zimbabwe and play well if given an opportunity,” Sanju said.

Sanju will be joining the Indian team in Zimbabwe for the 2-match T20 series starting Friday and will hope to don the blue jersey in both the matches. After all, T20 cricket is what brought him to the limelight.

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