From a memorable hundred against Sunrisers Hyderabad, when he single-handedly helped Rajasthan Royals to score over 200 for the first time in the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Sanju Samson has had a phenomenal start to this season. If at all, one has to define him, his classic cover drives, picture-perfect straight drives, a delicate flick of the wrists sending the ball towards the boundary line and the unending hunger for runs would be sufficient to hail this gentleman who has conquered the Indian domestic circuit with utmost authority.
In a freewheeling chat with News Nation, the 28-year-old opens about his second hundred and much more. Excerpts from the interview…
Sanju, you have been a part of Rajasthan Royals' since long now, and it wouldn't be wrong to say that you're one of the oldest members associated with the team. Does this add extra pressure or extra responsibility, how do you go about it?
I think it's a good space to be playing with the same team for a very long time now. So one gets used to the team structure, management, atmosphere which brings a lot of responsibilities to take on the culture and environment of the team. I am really enjoying it.
Second hundred of IPL, where do you rate this one, seeing the time you came at the crease?
Well, this one was a bit better one than the last one. Last came while playing in Pune, and the wicket was much flatter and easy to score. This one was comparatively on the slower side when we started. I think I will rate this one above the other.
With two back to back matches at the home ground, do you see this as an opportunity to make a comeback?
Obviously, it's a big opportunity for us to come back to the table strongly. We have been playing good cricket at Sawai Mansingh, and we hope to continue.
There are a lot of International players added to the squad who have captained their respective nations, is it a learning curve for you? Take us through what changed from last year to this year.
Last year we had almost the same team to which we have now, but Steve Smith coming in and sharing the amount of experience he carries, it strengthens our team. And we always see Ajju Bhai (Ajinkya Rahane), Steve Bhai (Steve Smith), and Jos Buttler getting together on the ground and discussing in difficult situations and that brings out the best which helps us to make better decisions every time.
It is known, that the likes of Smith, Stokes, Buttler will leave in the middle of the tournament. How is a team preparing to face challenges in the absence of them?
Even before the tournament started, the team management and all the coaches addressed this point and I am sure we will be prepared to face that situation if at all it comes. We have much better bench strength than any other team and the main thing is we give every player that belief to prepare better for the tournament. We give equal time for practice and they all are taking care really well. When the time comes, we are sure that they will perform.
Sourav Ganguly believes that you can be India's number 4 for the forthcoming World Cup. How do you see this?
It feels great but to be honest I need to work hard and score more runs.
Final question, last year, Rajasthan Royals lost to KKR three times, knowing this, so how is the team planning to prepare for the upcoming game?
The planning and preparation have always been the same, and it will be the same ahead. We will try to keep it simple against Kolkata Knight Riders and we are excited about the game.