Kerala cricketer Sanju Samson will make his IPL captaincy debut for the Rajasthan Royals as they begin their campaign against the revamped Punjab Kings at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai today.
Ahead of his captaincy debut, the Rajasthan Royals and Sanju sent custom jerseys and gift hamper to Mollywood film star Prithviraj Sukumaran and his daughter Alankrita. The Mollywood actor has taken to Instagram to thanks the team and the Kerala batsman for the lovely jersey.
He wrote, “Thank you @imsanjusamson and @rajasthanroyals for the hamper and the jerseys! Ally and I will be cheering! Sanju..you captaining the franchise is a huge source of happiness and pride for all of us! Looking forward to more of our chats on life and cricket!”
Soon after parting ways with Steve Smith this year, Rajasthan Royals announced that Sanju will lead the side in Vivo IPL 2021. The Royal’s team owner Manoj Badale explained why Sanju is captaining the side. “Sanju is at the start of his journey as a leader. He is understated and a strong individual. The wicketkeeper is a great position to captain the side,” Badale said, adding that Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara will be joining the team as director of operations. Sanju has earlier captained the Kerala side in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2021.
Sanju was first picked by the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL 2012 auction but did not play a single game. His IPL career began when Rajasthan Royals signed him in 2013, and he made heads turn with his batting. Cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle had high praises for Sanju when he first saw him bat.
Sanju became the youngest batsman to score a 50 in the IPL, beating Shreevats Goswami’s record set in 2008. In 2016, when Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings were suspended for two seasons, Sanju was picked up by the then Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals) for Rs 4.2 crore in the IPL auction. In the 2017 IPL season, Sanju scored his maiden T20 century against Rising Pune Supergiant at the MCA Stadium in Pune.
When RR and CSK made a comeback to the IPL in 2018, he was brought back to the Royals for Rs 8 crore. Sanju scored his second T20 century against Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2019. When the IPL was shifted to UAE last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Sanju slammed 26 sixes which was the second most followed by Ishan Kishan’s 30. Sanju scored 375 runs in 14 matches. With captaincy duties, Sanju will hope to lead the side with the bat as well. Kerala is eagerly awaiting Sanju's IPL captaincy debut.