Sanju Samson, who has amassed 202 runs in the current season of IPL, has been on the cusp of getting selected in the Indian team for quite some time but played just 4 T20I for India. The talent that Samson possesses warrants him to be given a longer rope just like Rohit Sharma in his initial years.
Sanju Samson started off this edition of IPL in the best possible manner as he blasted CSK bowlers in the opening match of the Rajasthan based franchise, scoring 74 runs off just 34 deliveries. He then followed it up with another banger of an innings, scoring 85 in just 42 balls and hitting KXIP bowlers for sixes at his will. It wasn’t just the impressive strike rate at which he plundered the bowlers rather the quality of the innings was something that hardly any cricket fan would not like to watch which speaks volumes about the kind of batsman that Samson is. He stood and delivered sixes as if it is a piece of cake for him. It looks like he has so much time after the bowler delivers the ball that he might as well have his meal in the meantime. And it's not the first time he has destroyed quality bowling attacks.
In 2019, he played a blinder of an innings, scoring an unbeaten hundred against the world-class attack of SRH, which included the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Rashid Khan. It has almost become a habit of his to amass such wonderful innings every year, which results in high expectations from the 25-year old. But despite so much talent, Samson has failed to get the backing of the Indian selectors for a regular spot in the limited-overs team. Management has been betting on players like Rishabh Pant, who has failed to replicate his domestic prowess on the international circuit. Ambati Rayudu is another player who was backed by the management for a year but was dropped from the team just before the World Cup despite scoring runs at an average of just above 47. This puts a question mark over the policy of the Indian team management for its players, not betting on the right players off late.
One of the similar bet was placed on Rohit Sharma, who made his debut for India on June 23, 2007, against Ireland. Rohit too took his time to establish himself on the international arena as in the first 3 years of his ODI career, Rohit scored 695 runs at an average of 25. His performance gradually increased as in the next two years as he averaged 47, scoring 1115 runs and 2 centuries. But the worst was yet to come as in the entire 2012, he scored just 168 runs at an average of 12.92 with only one fifty. However, the team management stood by the Mumbaikar and reaped rich rewards for their faith.
The 26-year old then was made to open in the Champions Trophy 2013 along with Shikhar Dhawan, who was the highest run-scorer in the tournament, and the rest is history. Rohit has scored 4616 runs in 94 games at an average of 55 since he started opening for the Indian team, including three record-breaking double hundreds. Backing a player for more than 5 years - was unheard of previously, but Rohit is a special player and hence, warranted special treatment.
Similar is the situation with Samson, but he has not received the backing of the Indian selectors. He made his T20 debut in the year 2015 but played his second match in 2020 and has not received any backing akin to Rohit Sharma. Samson has been knocking on the doors of the selectors with his domestic performances as well, scoring the fastest double century in List A cricket, which was also the highest individual total in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, with an unbeaten 212 runs from 129 balls. These high calibre performances are a testament to the fact that Samson is a special talent. Even former RR captain Shane Warne reflected upon the quality of the Kerala batsman.
"Sanju Samson, what a player he is. I have said for a long time and I think Sanju Samson is probably one of the most exciting players I have seen for a long time. I am surprised that he is not playing all forms of cricket for India," Warne said in an Instagram live session done by the Rajasthan Royals.
"He is that good. He is an absolute champion he is got all the shots, quality, and class. So, hopefully, he has a consistent year and helps Rajasthan Royals lift the IPL trophy and I hope to see in him Indian colours in all three forms of cricket."
Given that he still has lots of cricket left in him and the way he has matured from being a promising talent to one of the main members of his franchise, he definitely should be backed by the selectors so that he plays his best cricket for the Indian team. Hope selectors are keeping Samson in their scheme of things and hope they give him a chance just like Rohit Sharma to churn out another legend of the game, which is the need of the hour, given that he is knocking on the door every year with his incredible performance.