T20 WC: Sanju will be exceptional for India, assures Sanga

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | May 09, 2024 IST

Sanju Samson

New Delhi, May 9:Been there, done the job on a few occasions for his country. But time has changed. Sri Lanka cricket legend Kumar Sangakkara is in a different role these days.

He is no more the talismanic batter and the alert keeper scripting several unbelievable wins for the island nation. Sangakkara is no more a player. He is a coach, a mentor, a guide for the Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the last couple of seasons.

This season his team RR and their skipper Sanju Samson are doing a wonderful job. Till last week, they were the table toppers and now they are at the second spot. Sanga and his RR bunch can surely dream of a play-off berth.  

Asked about his captain Samson, Sangakkara believes the cricketer from Kerala (Samson) can thrive at the ICC Men's T20 World Cup, if he wins the race to be India's first-choice wicket-keeper.

Samson, who is being coached by Sangakkara, has been in excellent form with the Rajasthan Royals the IPL 2024. In 11 games, the right-hander has amassed an incredible 471 runs while picking up seven dismissals in his wicket-keeper role and has led the team to eight victories in 11 games as a captain.

Samson will compete against the returning Rishabh Pant to be the wicketkeeper for the 20-over showcase in the USA and the West Indies as India selected two specialist keepers in their 15-player team for the T20 World Cup, which takes place next month.

"He's a special player and when he's fresh and focused there's nothing he can't do," Sangakkara said to ICC. "He's a humble, grounded guy... not much on social media. He tends to like a lot of privacy, and cares for the rest of the group.

"Those are great qualities to have apart from talent and skill. I think he'll be exceptional in that group going to the World Cup,” he added.

Even though Samson has been one of the best keeper-batters in the IPL lately, the 29-year-old has only played 25 T20I matches for India since making his debut against Zimbabwe in 2015 and was also not selected for India in the 2022 T20 World Cup.

However, Sangakkara believes that Samson is a more mature player now than he was in the past and that a new mental strategy is enabling him to play to the best of his abilities.

"With Sanju, the biggest thing about this season for him is having a lot of clarity about the way he should bat. There are certain stages of the game that he seems to lose a bit of concentration, which we've addressed from past seasons.

"He's changed his mind set about the importance of rest and recovery, rather than just training all the time and being tired mentally and physically. The rest is his exceptional ability,” he concluded.

Whether Samson wins the race to be the first choice Team India keeper ahead of Rishabh Pant in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup is a later issue, presently the Rajasthan Royals would be hoping their skipper continues his magic form and guide them to the IPL 2024 play-offs. 

Once in the play-offs, if Sangakkara's boys can hold nerves, then maybe they can take hope the IPL Trophy after 16 seasons again. Remind you under Shane Warne, RR won the inaugural IPL title. (With IANS support)

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