Sanju Samson saw it all last season. From a dip in form in the Ranji Trophy to the knee problem to disciplinary issues with Kerala Cricket Association and then finally a return to form in the 2017 edition of the Indian Premier League. The wicketkeeper-batsman from Kerala was back among the runs as he ended the tournament as Delhi Daredevils’ highest run-getter with 386 runs this season.
With the new season about to get underway, Samson is not taking it lightly and is focussing hard on the preseason. The right-hander has already commenced his preparations with the team under new coach Dav Whatmore.
“I had struggled with my fitness last season. Since the matches were being played in neutral venues, we had to travel a lot and it would take a toll on my body. And I would end up not making the right decisions in pressure situations. So this year, I’ve already started working on my fitness,” Samson told Times of India.
After trying too hard in a forgettable last season, Samson reveals how working with Rahul Dravid, DD coach, helped him find his mojo back.
“Last year, I wanted to perform desperately. There was too much expectation from me and it bogged me down. It limited my approach as I was thinking a lot and making things complicated. So I got frustrated. At the start of IPL 10, I worked with (Daredevils coach) Rahul Dravid and things started to fall in place. He told me to play with freedom and forget about the results. So instead of thinking about scoring big, I kept a check on my expectations and focused on contributing in every way. I started expressing more and took risks and it all paid off,” he added.
Samson, who has played one T20I for India on their tour of Zimbabwe, knows that IPL performances are not enough to find a place in the senior team. The youngster understands the importance of doing well in the domestic circuit.
“I have realised that doing well in IPL doesn’t guarantee a berth in the Indian side. You need to perform consistently in the domestic season and be in a good shape if you want to get selected in the Indian side. That’s what I am aiming for,” said Samson.
With a long queue to replace MS Dhoni behind the stumps, Samson says he is preparing as a fielder in addition to keeping. The stumper didn’t keep wickets during the IPL and said it was something he didn’t expect.
“I had focused on wicket-keeping a lot during my initial years. But nowadays, I have been asked to field as well. I never knew I would be fielding in IPL this season. So it is crucial that I prepare as a fielder in addition to keeping. I need to be prepared for all situations,” he said.