Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)

How horror times changed Samson Delhi Daredevils’ mentor Dravid’s faith benefits Sanju

- Bihan Sengupta sportsdesk@hindustant­imes.com HT Correspond­ent sportsdesk@hindustant­imes.com

Until Tuesday, nothing seemed to go right for Sanju Samson this season. He had to tender an unconditio­nal apology to the Kerala Cricket Associatio­n for an alleged misconduct, was dropped from the Kerala side midway through the Ranji Trophy, and had to tackle a knee injury that would often play up.

On the field as well, his average performanc­es did little to help his cause as he failed to capitalise on a number of opportunit­ies.

With just 334 runs to his name in 11 innings in the Ranji Trophy and an average of 18 in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Sanju Samson’s mediocre show continued even in 2017 Indian Premier League as he managed to score just 13 in the first game against the Royal Challenger­s Bangalore.

However, the story on Tuesday was different. After scoring his first T20 century to guide Delhi Daredevils home, there was immense satisfacti­on on the 22-year-old’s face as Sanju Samson addressed the media.

“You need to have bad times to learn certain things about life,” Sanju Samson said.

“As a cricketer, if you make mistakes you learn from it in order to become a better person. I think my past has helped me to become a better cricketer and a better human being. I’ve learnt from it and I’m happy that my present is very good now.”

Sanju Samson’s knock, the sixth slowest for a batsman while scoring a century in the Indian Premier League, paved the path for Delhi Daredevils to post 205 as they thrashed Rising Pune Supergiant by 97 runs.

Samson started aggressive­ly, paced his innings in the middle and then finished on a high with a six to bring up his ton.

“I think we need to change our batting style according to the match situation. I’ve been playing IPL for quite some time now so I’ve had my experience­s.

“I learnt from it and sometimes you need to slow down to make a partnershi­p so it was very important to drag on the innings and keep scoring actually,” Sanju Samson further added.

It didn’t take more than a couple of questions for Samson to reveal his dreams though.

“Every cricketer here in India dreams to play for the Indian team. But to get into it, you have to do something special.

“So I’m happy that I played this knock, but there’s a long way to go,” he added. Samson has played just a single T20 for India, in a losing cause at Harare where he scored 19 off 24 balls. He lauded captain Zaheer Khan, who took three wickets and chief mentor Rahul Dravid for his knock as well.

Dravid was his captain at Rajasthan Royals when he first hogged the limelight with a 41-ball 63 to help them beat a starstudde­d Royal Challenger­s Bangalore

LIFE LESSONS From a lingering knee injury to alleged misconduct, the tough times hardened the Kerala player

in 2013.

“They (Dravid and Zaheer) are both very experience­d. We are very lucky that this team is under them and we really enjoy their company. They know their skills to make people perform,” Samson said. Sanju Samson of Delhi Daredevils became the first player to hit a century in the 2017 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL). In scoring his 63-ball 102 during Delhi Daredevils’ 97-run victory over Rising Pune Supergiant on Tuesday, Samson became the 12th Indian to notch up a century in the IPL. And having come through a tough time in recent months, Sanju Samson was full of praise for the one man who has stood by him through his career — Delhi Daredevils batting mentor Rahul Dravid.

The former India batsman, known affectiona­tely as The Wall, kept faith in the 22-yearold Sanju Samson despite alleged misconduct claims saw him being dropped from the Kerala side during the recently concluded Ranji Trophy season. Rahul Dravid initially came to realise Samson’s ability four years ago when both played for Rajasthan Royals. It was in 2013, when Dravid was captain of the Rajasthan side that Samson was drafted in as a 17-year-old. Dravid led the team to the 2013 Champions League T20 final before retiring and taking up a role as mentor. Dravid took Samson under his wing at every stage, even convincing the Royals to retain the Kerala player for the 2014 season, making him the youngest IPL player to ever be retained.

Since then, Dravid batted for Samson wherever he went, from the India A side to the Delhi Daredevils franchise where he took up the role of mentor ahead of the 2016 IPL season.

Dravid’s faith finally paid off on Tuesday as Samson struck the maiden ton of his T20 career.

Sanju Samson dedicated his knock — which he described as the best of his life — to Dravid for his constant support throughout his career.

“I am very happy to play this knock and very happy that the team won the match. I am blessed to be a part of this team, working with Rahul sir and the rest of the support staff.

“I am in a very good space of mind and the people here have always backed me and encouraged me,” Samson said at the post-match presentati­on in Pune when he was announced as Man of the Match.

He later spoke in further detail with representa­tives of the league.

“The dedication must go to the Delhi Daredevils management. I thank Rahul Dravid, Zubin Bharucha, Paddy Upton and each member of the team who has supported me throughout. Last IPL season was not great for me, but they supported me throughout and I dedicate this knock to them,” Samson was quoted as saying in an interview published on the IPL’s website (www.iplt20.com).

He reiterated the fact that he felt “blessed” to have worked and learned from Dravid.

As a cricketer, if you make mistakes you learn in order to become a better person. My past helped me become a better cricketer and human being Every cricketer dreams to play for the Indian team. To get into it, you have to do something special. I’m happy I played this knock. LEE AGREED THE REAL

 ?? AFP ?? Delhi Daredevils’ Sanju Samson celebrates after scoring IPL 10’s first ton.
AFP Delhi Daredevils’ Sanju Samson celebrates after scoring IPL 10’s first ton.
 ?? HT PHOTO ?? Sanju Samson acknowledg­ed Delhi Daredevils mentor Rahul Dravid’s support through his career.
HT PHOTO Sanju Samson acknowledg­ed Delhi Daredevils mentor Rahul Dravid’s support through his career.

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