Soon after leading the Rajasthan Royals to a third-place finish last season, Rahul Dravid posed a very simple question to Sanju Samson, “Will you stay with us?”
Samson didn’t think twice before saying an emphatic ‘yes’. On Friday, the franchise kept its word: they retained him. And the man was slugging it out at the Medical College grounds in Thiruvananthapuram when his news of his retention spread like wild fire.
Ironically, it was S Sreesanth who introduced Samson to Dravid and the others. Sreesanth is nowhere in the picture now, but his fellow Keralite is part of the cream of the team. And why not? In 16 outings (10 in the IPL and five in the Champions League T20), Samson tallied nearly 400 runs at 30 in Rajasthan Royals colours. Since then, his career has gone just one way: up. He has cemented his place in the India Under-19 side, amassed over 500 runs for Kerala in the Ranji Trophy and even scored a match-winning hundred against Pakistan in the final of the Asia Cup Under-19 tournament. Soon, he’ll be on the plane to Australia for the ICC Under-19 World Cup.
“I am glad they have retained me. I am indebted to Rajasthan Royals for life. They gave me a chance to prove my credentials and I am happy I lived up to their expectations,” Samson told dna.
Biju George, Samson’s long-time coach, was over the moon. “Sanju could have opted out of the team and gone into the pool. But Sanju and his parents were humble enough to tell the Royals management to retain him at a minimum fee,” said George, who works for Sports Authority of India. Yes, that’s true. Samson could have easily raked in a few crore rupees, but it is understood that he has agreed to ink a deal worth Rs 1 crore. Now that’s what you call loyalty.