Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala star Sanju V Samson displayed glimpses of his exquisite batting with some fearless hitting in the recently concluded three-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series against Australia which India won 2-1. Known for his six-hitting prowess, the stylish right-hander got off to decent starts in the first two T20Is but was not quite able to convert them into big scores.
His contribution, on the surface, may seem insubstantial but in the context of the matches, he played his part in boosting India's chances. Sanju, who returned home last week, appeared satisfied with his efforts Down Under and said that he could fulfill his responsibilities as a middle-order batsman according to the team's requirement.
"I believe I could live up to the expectations of the team management and skipper Virat Kohli," he said in an interview.
Are you happy with your performances Down Under?
I could not score big in the three matches but I'm not really disappointed. We got our gameplan right in the first two T20s. I was entrusted with the responsibility of accelerating the run rate in the middle overs. The team management wanted me to play fearless cricket without worrying about losing the wicket. Had I been more cautious, I could have scored big runs. But what really matters is how you help the team’s cause, more than individual glory.
Pacer S Sreesanth has been named in Kerala's probables for the T20 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. How do you see his return to cricket?
We are determined to win at least a trophy in the upcoming domestic season. It will be the best gift we can give to Sreesanth chettan who is set to make his comeback into professional cricket.
Last Indian Premier League (IPL) was a roller-coaster ride for you. You made a stupendous start to the season, but could not maintain that momentum thereafter...
Undoubtedly, last IPL season was the best in my career. I'm not saying this in terms of runs scored. I could play some match-defining knocks for the team. More than the number of centuries or half-centuries, these are the things that make a player proud and satisfied.
You have gone through a lot of ups and downs. Do failures motivate you to try harder and improve your skills?
Of course, you have to learn from your mistakes if you want to avoid repeating them. Instead of letting failure defeat you, you can learn from it and improve. After playing good knocks in the first two outings in the IPL, I struggled to score in the matches that followed. It was my batting coach Jayakumar sir who told me what I was doing wrong and gave me pointers on how to rectify those mistakes. Instead of playing attacking shots from the word go, I looked to spend some time in the middle and assess the conditions. Thankfully, it worked well for me.
How was the feeling of donning the national colours after a long gap?
I believe it was my performance in the IPL which once again opened the doors to the national team. The team management wanted me to play my natural, instinctive game banking on my skillset. My role was to go out there and dominate the bowlers. I had been told in advance that I would be playing all the three matches in the T20 series. It boosted my confidence and helped me a lot mentally. I want to thank the management for showing lots of faith in me by making me play a key role in the batting order.