Sanju Samson has revealed that he got congratulatory messages from the likes of MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma after being named the Rajasthan Royals' captain. He also added that he looks at captaincy as a service to the team and doesn't feel the RR did a lot wrong in the 2020 IPL.
Becoming captain of the side that a player has been representing for a long time is a dream come true for many. Rajasthan Royals had a tough choice to make for captaincy after they showed the exit door to their previous skipper Steven Smith. Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes were some illustrious names in contention given they make it to the XI regularly. However, it was talented Indian wicketkeeper batsman Sanju Samson, who has been representing the Royals since 2013 in the IPL, who got the nod.
The Kerala gloveman revealed that he had a very 'special moment' when some of the top Indian players like Dhoni, Virat and Rohit sent him texts after he was named the RR captain, earlier, this year. “I got some nice congratulatory messages from Virat bhai, Rohit bhai and Mahi bhai,” Samson told HT in an interview.
Samson has earlier led Kerala and India U-19 team, so it won't be the first time that he would be captaining a side. Sharing his view on the job, he said he looks at it like a service towards others and would want to facilitate things in the unit.
"I look at captaincy as more of a service to the team. A captain is someone who is there to provide the right kind of atmosphere that every individual requires in a team and backs each one of them. It’s a lot about man-management skills—giving positive feedback to your players, understanding where they are coming from. The fact that my team and the franchise trust me to do this job gives great confidence that there is something in me," Samson said.
Notably, half of the IPL teams this season will be captained by wicketkeeper batsmen namely, MS Dhoni, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samosn. Reflecting on this, he stated that a gloveman is the 'best judge' on the cricket field and he can see things better.
"It’s about how you take it, really. I’ve always felt a wicketkeeper is the best judge on a cricket field. He can see a lot more things, analyse the game better and is one step ahead. If you feel it’s too much to work around, it might get complicated. If you feel you’re in the best position to lead the team as a wicketkeeper, then it becomes a lot easier. I treat it as the latter."
One of the key figures for RR this season will be Chris Morris. Not only, he is a gun bowler but also adds depth to batting with his finishing prowess. After leading RCB's attack successfully last year, in the absence of Jofra Archer, he will spearhead RR's attack this year. Samson, however, doesn't want to put too much 'pressure' on him.
"I would not like to put him (Morris) under too much pressure or tell him that he's the biggest member of this team. Everyone has a big role to play; even someone bowling one over might have a crucial role. But we're excited to have Morris back. He’s a very happy-go-lucky person, someone who likes to keep the atmosphere light. But when he enters the ground, he is a completely different person—competitive and eager to win matches. It’s great to have an individual like that in the team." Samson said on Morris.
Samson will have an uphill task to change the fortunes of the Rajasthan-based franchise after they failed to reach the playoffs last year despite a strong start. The newly appointed skipper reckons that the team just needs to play fearless cricket as they didn't do much wrong last year.
"I don't think we did too much wrong in the last season. If you look at our XI on paper, we're one of the best. So I would like to tell everyone that we are a great bunch of players and we just need to play some good cricket. If we are in the right mindset as a team, I believe good things are ahead of us. This format demands a lot of fearless cricket, be it in batting, bowling or fielding. It's all about speed, power and expressing yourself. That's what I expect from my team."