Quadrangular A-Team One-Day Series, Darwin

'Learnt how to bat in middle order' - Samson

Gaurav Kalra and Kanishkaa Balachandran

August 4, 2014

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'Wicketkeeping helps me stay involved in the game' - Samson

India A batsman Sanju Samson has said that his biggest takeaway from playing in Australia in the Quadrangular Series was understanding the dynamics of batting in the middle order and adjusting his game according to the match situation.

Samson, the Kerala batsman who was part of the India Under-19 team at the World Cup earlier this year, is primarily a top-order player, even for his franchise Rajasthan Royals. Samson finished as India A's highest run-scorer with 244 runs from seven innings with two fifties with an average of 81.33, given that he was dismissed just thrice. Samson had dropped down to No.6 and also kept wicket in all games. Though he failed in the final against Australia A, scoring 5, India still went on to win the tournament.

"I am not used to playing in the middle/lower order," Samson told ESPNcricinfo after arriving in India. "I took the opportunity and I always wanted to finish games for my team and be not out at the end. I was not out in four innings and I learnt how a batsman needs to convert his game according to the situation, playing in different conditions and bowlers, especially down the order."

Samson's top score of 81 in the opening game came in a losing cause, but it helped India stretch Australia after India were limping at 84 for 6 chasing 253. He made a bigger impact in matchwinning unbeaten knocks of 55 - batting at No. 7 - and 49 in successive matches. Samson's performance on tour won the praise of India A coach Abhay Sharma, who called the batsman 'India's future'.

Abhay said Samson was dropped down the order in order to manage his workload as a batsman and wicketkeeper. Abhay said he was impressed with the way Samson adjusted to his new position. Samson admitted that he needs to work harder on his wicketkeeping. Nevertheless, it is a role he enjoys as it helps him stay focused for the entire duration of the match. Abhay too agreed that he needed to sharpen his technique.

"I like to be involved in the game as much as I can," Samson said. "Keeping [to] every single ball keeps you involved. It was an interesting experience and I kept in all seven matches and in those conditions it was a very good experience for me. I do know that I have to work a bit more on my wicketkeeping when I go back home."

Samson is yet to be picked for India, and while expectations are high after his impressive showings with Royals, he isn't placing heavy expectations on himself yet. He is happy to take it one step at a time and focus on performing in tournaments with the A squad.

"There are crores of players playing cricket and they all want to play for India. They know that India is a strong team and it's tough to get in. But as I said I don't want to think on those lines. I am happy to be playing good tournaments."

He said such tournaments have helped him understand his game better. "I started playing the game just to enjoy myself, not to play for India or do miracles and I had started to win games for my team. I see myself as an improved and mature cricketer day by day and I am learning from each and every game I play. I've seen a lot of improvements in my game in the last year."

Gaurav Kalra is a senior editor at ESPNcricinfo. Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (August 6, 2014, 2:47 GMT)

Few years back Dhoni told that he will consider his future as test cricketer in 2013. Its already 2014 August. i think he should retire as test cricketer and hand over the captaincy to virat kohli (form is not there but it will be back soon) and keeping to Sanju Samson. Even if he fails initially he will be a long term prospect for India.

Posted by Johnny_129 on (August 6, 2014, 2:39 GMT)

Good to see a youngster with potential being given an early break. Congrats to Samson - Hope he grabs any opportunity he gets with both hands. I would also like to see Safaraz Khan's progress - He has been doing extraordinary well in the U19's as a 16 yr old. We all know what happened the last time India elevated a 16yr old batsman!

Posted by   on (August 6, 2014, 0:15 GMT)

I thank the selectors first as they accepted another teenager who is going to make ripples in Indian cricket after that lad, Sachin some years back. I wish that he stays in form for a long time and keep the mindset. Let the media leave him be.

Posted by   on (August 5, 2014, 17:39 GMT)

Selectors should be appreciated by giving opprotunity to youngstars is good sign...Best of Luck India

Posted by Cric__Dude on (August 5, 2014, 17:26 GMT)

Absolutely, players like Samson and Karun Nair are the future. They are very young. The promise they show while playing is just amazing. Great consistency, superb talent. Samson should definitely replace Dhoni in tests and play along with Dhoni in ODI and T20. Is Dhoni really ready to give youngsters few chances or keep playing his favorites remains the question.

Posted by   on (August 5, 2014, 16:55 GMT)

Well done Sanju and hope the pressure don't break you. Keep performing

Posted by FiGhtCluB_99 on (August 5, 2014, 16:16 GMT)

Wow Samson has got quite a fan following. Can't remember any cricketer in the recent past getting so much hype and attention even before his international debut. Just hope it isn't too much to handle for the young lad.

It would be nice to see the selectors try out some young talent after the WC next year. Keep an eye on the likes of Karun Nair, M.Pandey, Vohra, Chahal, Sandeep Sharma, Ankit Bawne, Kuldeep Yadav, R.Dhawan etc.

Posted by   on (August 5, 2014, 14:48 GMT)

he is such a good boy actually met him at a mall in my city... and he was so humble and down to earth talking to me and others :) .... I wish all the good luck for him and he rightly got place in the team...hopefully he gets to play to make a bigger impact and become prime contender for worldcup

Posted by   on (August 5, 2014, 8:32 GMT)

Sanju: I sincerely hope that you maintain this attitude throughout your life and you will surely go places. Team India selectors: Stop experimenting with the no.4 position in ODIs. this guy is just the kind of guy you need over there. He can hold fort if the team losses two or three early wickets. He can also keep up or improve the run-rate if the team is off to a good start. Not to mention he can share the wicket keeping duties with Dhoni, or replace Dhoni as a Wicket Keeper altogether

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