Sijomon's passion and perseverance bear fruit

Sijomon Joseph
Sijomon Joseph shone both with the bat and ball in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Photo: By Special Arrangement

Resoluteness is one word which sums up Sijomon Joseph, a rising star of Kerala cricket. The all-rounder lost his father when he was one-and-a-half-year old. What Sijomon has had was the backing of a single mother as he battled the odds to focus on perfecting his game. He has been in fine form both with the bat and ball in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy one-day competition. He played a big role in Kerala qualifying for the quarterfinals by topping Elite Group D. 


Sijomon made a big impression in the opening game as his 3/44 helped Kerala restrict Chandigarh to a modest total of 184/8. But, it was his big stand with Vishnu Vinod in the must-win game against Maharashtra which caught the eye of the cricket fans. Kerala looked dead and buried at 120/6 in the 26th over in pursuit of 292. However, the left-right combination of Sijomon and Vishnu put together a record 174 off just 141 balls for the unbroken seventh-wicket stand to script a memorable win. Vishnu scored an unbeaten 100 off 82 balls, while Sijomon made 71 not out off 70 balls. The two paced the chase to perfection as Kerala were home and dry with seven balls to spare.


Sijomon, who is passionate about the game and hungry for success, has worked hard on his batting under former Kerala captain Sreekumar Nair. "Power-hitting was not my forte. I used to be in awe when Sanju bhai (captain Sanju Samson) would smash sixes at will. I have worked hard on my batting, especially big-hitting," Sijomon told Onmanorama over the phone from Rajkot.

Sanju & Sijomon
Sijomon is all praise for his captain Sanju Samson. Photo: By Special Arrangement


As for the sensational partnership against Maharashtra, Sijomon said it was a special feeling. "Our initial plan was to arrest the slide. Once the partnership grew to 50-odd, we had the belief that we could do it. To pull off the chase was truly special."


Sijo followed up his brilliant knock with 5/33 in Kerala's big win over Chhattisgarh on Sunday.


"Sanjubhai and coach (Tinu Yohannan) have supported me a lot. They have given me the freedom to play fearless cricket," said Sijo.


The 24-year-old from Kidanagoor, near Pala, is an asset on the field too.


Sijomon, a former India under-19 player, proved his leadership quality when he captained KCA Royals to triumph in the inaugural edition of the KCA President's Cup T20 tournament earlier this year.


With the IPL auction round the corner, Sijomon has done his cause no harm. "I'm not thinking about it. I take it one game at a time and aim to give my best," he added.


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