Sanju Samson was a 13-year-old playing Under-16 cricket in Kerala when Shane Warne-led RR won inaugural IPL

Sanju Samson
A 13-year-old Sanju Samson was already a star in Kerala cricket in 2008.

Under Sanju Samson's captaincy, Rajasthan Royals have reached the final of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022.

The 27-year-old has led from the front with his smart strokeplay and matured decision-making as the Royals booked only their second IPL final since making it there in the debut season (2008), which they also went on to win.

It is fascinating that Sanju, one of the best wicketkeeper batsmen in Indian cricket, was virtually an unknown commodity when the Royals last reached the IPL final, 14 years ago.

Addressing the post-match, Sanju recalled that he was "somewhere in Kerala" when the late Shane Warne led the Royals to the IPL title in the 2008 inaugural edition.

"I was a 13-year-old playing for a Kerala U-16 team that day. I vaguely recall Shane Warne and Sohail Tanvir getting the winning runs," Sanju said.

In fact, he was the skipper of a junior Kerala team and that very year he scored three centuries, including a double hundred for the state team.

And yes, he was right about the Royals' title-winning moment. It was the great Aussie Warne and Pakistani bowler Tanvir who delivered the final punch in Rajasthan Royals' 3-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings on June 1, 2008.

What a moment it would be should he inspire another Royals victory in the final of IPL 2022 against Gujarat Titans on May 29.

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