The story of Sanju Samson coming to Indian Premier Legaue (IPL) is quite fascinating. Sanju made his debut for Rajasthan Royals (RR) under the captaincy of Rahul Dravid. But now we know that it was not Dravid who first saw a potential T20 player in Sanju. The man who introduced Sanju to Dravid was Sanju’s Kerala senior Sreesanth.
In an interview to a news website, Sreesanth revealed that how he lied to Dravid about Sanju to get him a game. Sreesanth said that when he took Sanju to Dravid, he lied to the then RR captain that the youngster had hit him for sixes in a local tournament. “Rahul bhai listened to me when I introduced Sanju to him,” Sreesanth told Sportskeeda’s YouTube channel in an exclusive chat. “I lied to him, I said, ‘This kid hit me for six sixes in a local tournament’. Rahul bhai said, ‘Shree, kuch bhi bol, ye kyu bol raha hai?’ (Say anything, why are you lying like this) (Laughs)”, Sreesanth told Sportskeeda.
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The former India bowler also said that he paid for the travel expenses of Sanju to Rajasthan from Kerala because in those days no such rule was in place for trials.
Most Runs at Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur in IPL history ___
1115 – Ajinkya Rahane
875 – Shane Watson
735 – Rahul Dravid
501 – Jos Buttler
417 – Sanju Samson
Dravid was super impressed with Sanju and told Sreesanth that RR are not going to let him go. “…But when Rahul bhai saw him bat he was convinced, came to me and said, ‘Sree, don’t let this Sanju guy go to any other selection, we are signing him. Whether or not he’d get matches, I don’t know but we would like to sign him.'”
Dravid was not sure whether Sanju could play the next season of IPL but the fact is that the Kerala wicketkeeper and batter ended up playing 11 games in his debut season. In 11 matches in IPL 2023, Sanju scored 216 runs with just one fifty to his name. But he went from strength to strength in the next seasons. In 2014, he smashed 339 runs in 13 matches, 204 in IPL 2015, 291 in IPL 2016 and 386 in IPL 2017. He had switched to Delhi Daredevils for a few seasons before heading back to RR.
IPL 2018 was Sanju’s best season in which he scored 441 runs in 15 matches. Ahead of IPL 2022, Sanju was named as the captain of the Royals. This was the same season in which Rajasthan Royals reached the final of the league and lost to Hardik Pandya’s Gujarat Titans.