Sanju Samson walked in on Tuesday to bat in the Eden Gardens with his side in a tricky position. The hopelessly out of shape Yashasvi Jaiswal had used up 8 powerplay deliveries to score just 3 runs before shoving one to Yash Dayal’s keeper. Samson passed the first over in the middle and saw Jos Buttler struggle from the other side. On his first delivery, Samson did what Samson does.
He watched the ball drop, didn’t move an inch, and let his outstretched wrists do the rest. An effortless lift over long-on, against the corner formed by Dayal with left arm bowling over the wicket. It was an effortless six and yet another show of Samson’s ability.
But the question was never about his ability. It was about his temperament and shot selection. Samson, who was not included in the Indian T20I squad for the South African series, had a point to prove and another sharp shot through the covers into the over seemed to be his answer to the snub.
There was more to come as he played delectable punches in the plus against both the pacers and the spinner to give Rajasthan’s innings the jump start it needed on a day when their main man Jos Buttler was struggling to get going.
Samson was in his forties in no time and looked poised to score a 50, and beyond, when he missed an attempted shot from Sai Kishore with his left arm. He left for 47 from 26 balls. Another smooth innings was cut short due to a poor shot selection.
Former India head coach Ravi Shastri praised Samson for laying the groundwork for RR which helped them to eventually reach 188/6 when Buttler finally got going. But Shastri also expressed disappointment when Samson failed to get another major.
“It was an all round game. Anything that went up – hit through the line, hit straight, hit big. Anything short – he was ready to pull it, hit it into the stands. Against spinner, he played the waiting game, he threatened to go “He played some wonderful shots, late, in the square of the wicket. Top innings. I would have loved to have continued, but that’s always the case with Sanju Samson,” Shastri told Star Sports.
“But at least he put his team on the roof, especially when even Buttler was struggling,” added Shastri.
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