Sanju Samson was born on November 11, 1994. He entered the cricketing world by representing Kerala’s cricket team in the Ranji Trophy. He is the second youngest player to score a half-century in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Sanju holds multiple records — youngest batsman to score 1,000 and 2,000 runs in IPL, youngest cricketer to captain a Ranji side and fastest double hundred in List-A cricket. He was also adjudged as the ‘Best Young Player of the Season’ for 2013 IPL season.
Sanju made his debut for Kerala on November 3, 2011. He was appointed captain for the Kerala Ranji trophy team for the 2015-16 season, making him the youngest captain of a Ranji Trophy team. In the 2017-18 season, he was Kerala’s leading run-scorer with 627 runs in seven matches.
Although he was picked by the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2012’s IPL, he did not get a game to play. Rajasthan Royals signed him in 2013 and made heads turn with his batting. In fact, cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle had high praise when he first saw Sanju bat.
In his second IPL match against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Sanju was promoted to third spot as Rajasthan were chasing 172. Sanju scored 63 off 41 balls and received praise from all quarters. He became the youngest batsman to score a 50 in the IPL, beating Shreevats Goswami’s previous 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. In this season’s IPL, Sanju currently holds the record for most sixes. So far he has scored 326 runs in 12 matches with 3 match winning fifties.
Sanju was selected to the Indian squad to play against England in 5 ODIs and a T20I in August 2014. He was a backup keeper to MS Dhoni and did not get a chance to showcase his talent on the international stage. Since then, Sanju was often called up to the national side but never made to the playing XI. The wait ended when he made his international debut against Zimbabwe at Harare, in 2015. He became the third Keralite to don Indian colours after Tinu Yohanan and S Sreesanth. Sanju scored 19 off 24 balls as India was chasing 145 to win the series in the two-match T20 series. India lost by 10 runs as batsmen struggled to score except for Robin Uthappa (42 runs of 25 balls). In 2019, after Shikhar Dhawan got injured, Sanju was called up to T20I series against Windies. Once again he didn’t make the playing XI and this time the fans let Indian skipper Virat Kohli know their disappointment when Rishabh Pant dropped the difficult catch of WI batsman Evin Lewis during the second T20 played at Thiruvananthapuram (Sanju’s home ground). Virat was unhappy with fans chanting Sanju’s name after Rishabh’s dropped catch. Sanju got his chance in the 3rd T20I against Sri Lanka. After hitting the first bowl for a six, he was out the next ball. Sanju was selected for Indian T20 squad ahead of their tour of New Zealand but couldn’t make the necessary impact with the bat. Now, Sanju has got another chance to don the Indian jersey as he will be part of India’s T20I squad for their tour against Australia beginning on November 27. Sanju Vishwanath Samson’s Team India journey continues...