Kerala wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson has had a career filled with highs and lows so far. However, according to Samson, he has learned to embrace his flaws.
Samson is back in the Indian team for the Bangladesh series after a period of four years. In a recent media interaction, he confessed that he does not want to be the perfect batsman anymore, something he wanted to be for the longest time.
Samson played his only match for India in July 2015 when a relatively inexperienced side had gone on to tour Zimbabwe. For a 19-year-old Samson, that was perhaps his career’s highest point until then.
After that, it has been nothing less than a roller coaster for the wicketkeeper-batsman, who has even been dropped from the Kerala team on disciplinary grounds in the past. He has failed to consistently perform in domestic cricket and has had injury concerns from time to time and in between, he would produce an innings that would force you to take notice and say ‘wow, this boy can bat.’
His 212, the highest individual score in the history of Vijay Hazare Trophy was one such innings which he played earlier in the month.
“You rightly said it has been a roller-coaster ride for me. If you have a very safe and easy career there are very less things you will learn. I have learnt a lot in the last four to five years. If you have failed a lot of times then you know how to rise up and how to succeed. I have failed a lot of times in my life so I know how to stand up and perform. That has been a blessing,” Samson, now 24, told PTI on Thursday.
Many legends of the game including Rahul Dravid has been an admirer of Samson but the latter’s inconsistency always came in between him and a place in the Indian team. The fact that other keeper-batsman like Dinesh Karthik and Delhi lad Rishabh Pant were in prolific run-scoring form also did not help his case.
However, now with Virat Kohli rested from the T20 series against Bangladesh, Samson may get to play as a specialist batsman with Pant keeping wickets.
“I don’t have any regrets. As I said I have gone through a lot of ups and downs. I had lots of high expectations about myself that I should have performed much better than what I did.
“That I should have got into the team much before, but lately, I understood that everything has its own time and you have to be patient for your turn. I have been doing that and have become a better person in the process.
“Have really enjoyed my tough times, to be honest. I have understood who all are with me genuinely and who are not,” he added.
“Mentally and technically many changes have happened in the last five years. I have understood my game a lot more, a lot about myself as a person. I have worked on my strengths and not tried to be the perfect batsman that I tried be for a long time. I understood that no one can be a perfect batsman. Now I keep it simple and enjoy my cricket,” he explained.
Regarding his fitness, Samson went on to explain how failing the yo-yo test was one-off incident and he has been working hard on his fitness.
“I have been following my fitness like religion for the past two-three years. There are many ideas which come from different people, physios and trainers talk to you. They give you a schedule and you try to follow it. Then going for the yo yo was completely different for me.
“I was going about my fitness in a special way, but I got a niggle in the IPL (2018) and after that, I never got the time to recover before the yo-yo test and I didn’t communicate to the physio as I thought I would clear the test, but I didn’t. It was never a case of fitness being an issue,” he concluded.
The India-Bangladesh series is set to begin from 3 November and Samson will hope to grab the opportunity with both hands.