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Childhood coach Sanju Samson on the lack of opportunities

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

Childhood coach Sanju Samson texted him a few days ago when the right winger kept warming the bench in the T20Is against New Zealand. The chatter on social media had only surfaced after Sanju was ruled out in the T20Is, only heightened when he was dropped in the second ODI of the ongoing series after playing the opener. Not only in cricket circles but Sanju’s support in Qatar was also seen when fans were seen holding banners at FIFA Globalism cup place.

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Biju keeps a close eye on everything that happens on social media and Kerala circuits, and the coach is not pleased with Rishabh Pant’s discussion against Samson. He feels that they are both different players, fulfilling different roles, and Sanju is not competing for Pant’s place in the side.

Now what is happening on social media is that people are turning on Rishabh for no reason. Pant is there because he has performed over a long period of time. We see that there is no clash between Pant and Sanju Samson. Samson was playing and could play India as a pure mixture. Pant’s holding skills are very good. If you look over a period of time, Pant hasn’t done a major gag or fumble behind her torsos. He has become good for India with red and white ball over a long period of time. He might be in a slump now… when you talk about influential players like Adam Gilchrist or Verinder Sewage. Given the political hyperbole given to Sanju’s cricket trip, Biju says they should get a tax to fail.

“What I don’t like is how the Malu mob pits Sanju Samson against BCI, and belittles Rishabh Pant. It is very wrong and does not go on at all. Kerala political leaders think cricket is another political game and say Sanju is a victim. No Not at all. I don’t think so, and it’s only because the circumstances are not working in his favour. He’s not being deliberately targeted. I don’t think anyone in the Indian cricket system is going to be deliberately targeted. Someone like VVS Laxman is the coach, and I don’t see that happening,” he says. Peugeot.

final round

There’s a traffic jam in the Hindi mid-ranking at the moment with Suryakumar Yadav on the song, the brilliant Shreyas Iyer, ‘impact player’ Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya. Management has also gone the way of Deepak Hooda or Washington Sundar in the past to boost their bowling options. In this intensely competitive scenario, Biju feels Sanju can outsmart the final round and it would be a nightmare for shooters to have Sanju and Pandya firing on all cylinders.

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“Sanju has polished himself in the final. In my wish, if there is Hardik Pandya at one end, and Sanju Samson at the other to clean up the bowling for India…it will be great. If I put myself in Sanju’s place, I would say he can go two positions.” Either he can open because KL Rahul hasn’t set the stage for some time now or he can be the ultimate target India needs along with Hardik Pandya.As a T20 finisher you only get 15-20 balls.Something DK did ( Dinesh Karthik) last year. Get those small roles and make them big,” says Biju who started training Sanju when he was just 11 years old.

Will Sanju be like pure batter in this case? “Why not, he could do it easily,” asserts Peugeot.

“Sanju’s keeping skills are good, very good but with a pant, Sanju can play as a batsman and he is one of the best fielders. He can tackle in the field, he can be positioned in the ring. He also has a very clever cricket brain.”

Inspiration from Syria

After making his debut for India in the T20I series against Zimbabwe in 2015, Sanju had to wait five years to get another cap for the Men in Blue. This came in the domestic series against Sri Lanka in Pune in 2020. Since debut, the right-handed bowler is yet to get a long and consistent innings for the Indian cricket team and seven years after his debut, the 28-year-old has just made 27 appearances (11 ODI and 16 T20I matches) for India.

Sanju’s childhood coach doesn’t lose sleep over a lack of playing time or a hitter losing his early years on the bench. He sympathizes with his ward and wants him to take inspiration from Suryakumar Yadav.

“No time is not running out. Look to Surya for inspiration. He arrived late to the scene and how well did he seize the opportunity? So Sanju should not look far for inspiration. Surya’s example is right in front of him,” says Bijou.

Like Surya, Biju feels Sanju has the skill set to explore all parts of the park and gives an example of the match between Indian Mumbai and Rajasthan Royals in the IPL.

“If you’ve seen Sanju from his Under-19 days, he’s a guy who can clear ropes very easily. And he plays all over the park. Maybe not like the sloping shots of Suryakumar Yadav but he’s a 360-degree scout in his own way. If you remember the sixes hit by Mitchell Johnson during an IPL match Between the Mumbai Indians and the Rajasthan Royals, you’ll see the range he displayed there.Cutting the square for six, tapping for six, running around and finding gaps with ease…that’s special,” says Biju, who is now with the Delhi Capitals as a fielding coach.

Consistent operation and clear role

Sanju has been in and out of the side more often than not and he still needs a series of matches with the Indian cricket team. Ishan Kishan and Pant both arrived on the scene after Sanju but had more playing time than the 28-year-old. Being left-handed works in both guys’ favor but Peugeot feels left-right is a redundant theory that doesn’t really matter in the long run.

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“There’s a theory that most fast bowlers bowl 60-70% against right-handers. So when the left-hander comes to bat, there’s going to be some freebies along the way. I don’t subscribe to that theory. If you’re a good fast bowler, or left-handers Or right or even someone with an awkward attitude like Shivnarine Chanderpaul shouldn’t bother you too much. My theory is simple, if you’re good enough, you should hit. Bejo says.

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

“I feel everyone should have a clear role. The role should be explained to the player involved and the thought process of the player and the management should be synchronized for any player. I’m saying he (Sanju) should get a long run. Not like 30 games or 40 games.. Give him a good shot. Say 10 games on the trot,” concludes Peugeot.

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