Unluckiest U-Turn: Sanju Samson Makes Peace With Snub

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In a recent interview, Sanju Samson claimed that it was incorrect to call him the unluckiest cricketer despite missing out on T20 World Cup and ODI World Cup.

How to make peace with ignorance? Ask Sanju Samson. The Kerala and Rajasthan Royals captain was never known for his consistency but for his raw talent that earned him an India Cricket Team call-up at the age of 20. But his happiness did not last very long as he was soon dropped. And in these eight years, Samson has played only 24 T20Is and 12 ODIs only to be snubbed from both T20 World Cup and ODI World Cup. But a player who famously told TNIE, “I’m happy to score double hundreds every 10 inn­ings rather than 40s and 50s” is now content with selectors’ ignorance despite consistently scoring 40s and 50s even as his cult following does not agree.

Those words came back in 2019 when Sanju Samson shattered List A records, smashing 129-ball 212 against Goa in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. But now, he is a changed man, a more mature one who has made peace. Even as his cult fanbase rages on social media for his selection snub in World Cup 2023 or five-match IND vs AUS T20 series, he does not consider himself “unluckiest”.

“People call me the unluckiest cricketer. But where I’ve reached currently, it’s much more than what I thought I could,” Sanju Samson said in an interview with Dhanya Varma on YouTube.

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Sanju Samson scored 362 runs at a strike rate of 153.39 in IPL 2023 | Sanju Samson Twitter

Making peace with luck

In short, he has made peace, putting up a smile on his face that is infectious among his fans. In his eight-year journey through ups and downs, he has won over his critics to the point that even an ardent Suryakumar Yadav fan feels some sympathy for the 29-year-old.

And his performances on the pitch? It has been exactly opposite to what he told New Indian Express in 2019. He is not an explosive opener anymore. Instead of hitting “200 every 10 innings”, he is happy with 40s and 50s in domestic cricket. In the IPL, he has stayed true to his four-year-old words and hit it big.

“I play po­sitive and dominant cricket and there is a risk of getting out. I don’t like to stay at the cr­ease for long and absorb a lot of balls,” Sanju Samson told TNIE back then.

And the result is here to see. In IPL 2023, role clarity came with a better strike rate of 153.69. He either hit it big or was out soon.

Sanju Samson after hitting 212 off 129 against Goa in 2019

What’s next for Sanju Samson?

But while he has made peace with selectors’ ignorance, a role clarity would have made him a better batter in both ODIs and T20Is. For India, it never happened.

In T20Is, Samson opened the innings, batting at No 3, 4, 5, 6 and even 7. In ODIs, he has batted at No 3, 4, 5, and 6.

If he had the role clarity in the India Cricket Team like he has in Rajasthan Royals, things could have been different. But now, Samson is not looking back. Instead, his eyes are on Vijay Hazare Trophy and IPL 2024. And even though he is not in the scheme of things, who knows a superb IPL show might just break the door down for T20 World Cup 2024!

Sanju Samson in T20Is

Batting Position Inns HS Runs Avg S/R
Opening 4 77 105 26.25 164.06
3 2 27 33 16.50 150.00
4 10 40 155 17.22 130.25
5 3 30* 50 25.00 128.21
6 1 12 12 12.00 100.00
7 1 19 19 19.00 79.17
Overall 21 77 374 19.68 133.57

Sanju Samson in ODIs

Batting Position Inns HS Runs Avg S/R
3 2 46 55 27.50 84.62
4 1 51 51 51.00 124.39
5 5 54 104 52.00 89.66
6 4 86* 180 90.00 117.65
Overall 12 86* 390 55.71 104.00

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