‘Time is Not Running Out. Look at Surya, for Inspiration’: Sanju Samson’s Childhood Coach on Lack of Opport - News18

2 months ago 134

Last Updated: November 29, 2022, 12:50 IST

New Delhi, India

Sanju Samson was picked in the playing eleven for the first ODI against New Zealand.

Sanju Samson was picked in the playing eleven for the first ODI against New Zealand.

Sanju’s childhood coach is not losing sleep over lack of game time or the batter losing his prime years on the bench. He empathises with his ward and wants him to take inspiration from Suryakumar Yadav

“Just keep your chin up, your time will come… apna time aayega”

Sanju Samson’s childhood coach  sent him a text a few days back when the right-hander continued to warm the bench in the T20Is against New Zealand. The chatter on social media had hit the roof after Sanju’s exclusion in the T20Is it only grew louder when he was dropped for the second ODI of the ongoing series after playing the opening fixture. Not just cricketing circles, support for Sanju was seen in Qatar too when fans were spotted with banners at a FIFA World Cup venue.

ALSO READ | ‘Facing 135 kph After 155 kph Can be Deceiving’: Arshdeep on How Bowling With Umran Benefits Him

Biju is keeping a close eye on all that’s happening on social media and Kerala circles, and the coach is not pleased with the brewing Rishabh Pant vs Samson debate. He feels both are different players, performing different roles and Sanju is not competing for Pant’s slot in the side.

“Now what’s happening on social media is that people are turning against Rishabh Pant for no reason. Pant is there because he has performed over a long period of time. And see there is no clash between Pant and Sanju Samson. Samson has been playing and can play for India as a pure batter. Pant’s keeping skills are very very good. If you look over a period of time, Pant has not done a major lapse or fumble behind the stumps. He has come good for India in both red and white ball over a long period of time. He might have a slump now… When you talk about impact players like Adam Gilchrist or Virender Sehwag. They must get a levy to fail,” says Biju before highlighting the political spin given to Sanju’s cricketing journey.

“What I am not liking is how the mallu crowd is putting Sanju Samson against BCCI, and belittling Rishabh Pant. It is very wrong and not at all on. Political leaders in Kerala think cricket is another game of politics and are saying Sanju is victimised. No, not at all. I don’t believe so and it’s just that circumstances are not working in his favour. He is not being deliberately targeted. I don’t think anybody in the Indian cricketing system would be deliberately targeted. Somebody like a VVS Laxman is the coach, I don’t see that happening,” opines Biju.

The finisher role

There’s a traffic jam in the Indian middle-order at the moment with on-song Suryakumar Yadav, in-form Shreyas Iyer, “impact player” Rishabh Pant, and Hardik Pandya. The management has also gone Deepak Hooda or Washington Sundar way in the past to beef up the bowling options. In this intense competitive scenario, Biju feels Sanju can ace the finisher role and it will be a nightmare for the bowlers to have Sanju and Pandya firing on all cylinders.

FIFA World Cup 2022 Points Table | FIFA World Cup 2022 Schedule | FIFA World Cup 2022 Results | FIFA World Cup 2022 Golden Boot

“Sanju has molded himself into the finisher role. In my wish, if there is a Hardik Pandya at one end, and Sanju Samson at the other cleaning up bowlers for India… It will be amazing. If I put myself in Sanju’s shoes, I would say he can slot himself into two positions. Either he can open because KL Rahul hasn’t set the stage alight for quite some time now or he can aim to be the finisher India need alongside Hardik Pandya. As a finisher in a T20, you will only get 15-20 balls. Something that DK (Dinesh Karthik) did last year. Get those micro innings and make it big,” says Biju who started training Sanju when he was just 11.

Will it be Sanju as a pure batter in that case? “Why not, he can do that with ease,” asserts Biju.

“Sanju’s keeping skills are good, very good but with Pant around, Sanju can play as batter and he is one of the best fielders around. He can field in the outfield, he can be stationed in the ring. And he has got a very astute cricket brain,” he adds.

Inspiration from Surya

After making his debut for India in the T20I series against Zimbabwe in 2015, Sanju had to wait five years to get another game for the Men in Blue. It came in the home series against Sri Lanka in Pune in 2020. Since the debut, the right-hander is yet to get an extended, consistent run with the Indian cricket team and seven years after making his debut, the 28-year-old has just featured in 27 games (11 ODIs and 16 T20Is) for India.

Sanju’s childhood coach is not losing sleep over lack of game time or the batter losing his prime years on the bench. He empathises with his ward and wants him to take inspiration from Suryakumar Yadav.

“No time is not running out. Look at Surya, for inspiration. He arrived late to the scene and how well has he grabbed the opportunity? So Sanju shouldn’t look far for inspiration. Surya’s example is there in front of him,” says Biju.

Like Surya, Biju feels Sanju has the skillset to explore all parts of the park and gives the example of a fixture between Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals in the IPL.

“If you see Sanju from the U-19 days, he is a guy who can clear the ropes very easily. And he plays all around the park. Maybe not like Suryakumar Yadav’s ramp shots but he explores 360 degrees in his own way. If you remember the sixes he hit off Mitchell Johnson during an IPL match between Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals, you will see the range he showcased there. Square cutting for six, flicking for six, walking around and finding gaps with ease… that’s special,” says Biju, who is now with the Delhi Capitals as a fielding coach.

Consistent run and clear role

Sanju has been in and out of the side very often and is yet to get a string of games with the Indian cricket team. Both Ishan Kishan and Pant arrived on the scene after Sanju but have had more game time than the 28-year-old. Being left-handers did work in the two youngster’s favour but Biju feels left-right is a redundant theory and it doesn’t really matter in the long run.

ALSO READ | ‘There’s no Time for Experiments’: Ex-Cricketer’s Warning to India, Highlights Major Problem Ahead of 2023 WC

“There is a theory that most fast bowlers practice 60-70% against right-handers. So when a left-hander comes to bat, there will be some freebies along the way. I don’t subscribe to that theory. If you are a good fast bowler, left or right or even someone with an awkward stance like Shivnarine Chanderpaul shouldn’t bother you much. My theory is simple, if you are good enough, you should be batting. Left or right doesn’t matter,” says Biju.

With India prepping the squads for both the 50-over World Cup next year and T20 World Cup in 2024, Biju feels clear cut role with a “fair run” will only help the players and keep them in the right frame of mind when they turn out for the country.

“I feel everybody should have a clear-cut role. The role should be explained to the player concerned and the thought process of the player and management should be in sync, for any player. I am saying he (Sanju) should get an extended run. Not like 30 matches or 40 matches… give him a fair run. Say 10 matches on the trot,” concludes Biju.

Get the latest Cricket News, Schedule and Cricket Live Scores here

Read Entire Article