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India vs South Africa: How Sanju Samson staked his claim for more chances in ODIs | Cricket News – Times of India


With well-crafted ton in winning cause, batter presents his case for more opportunities higher up the order in ODIs
KOCHI: Thanks to his audacious strokeplay in the IPL, by now it is well known that Sanju Samson can attack the best opposition attacks from the word go. However, on Thursday against South Africa in Paarl, the 29-year-old took 110 balls to flex his muscles after reaching a career-defining hundred that helped India clinch the ODI series against the Proteas 2-1.
An exquisite timer of the ball, Samson seemed a T20 natural when he burst onto the scene almost a decade back.However, he has found the going tough in the shortest format despite making his India debut in Harare almost eight years ago. Samson seems more at home in ODIs, where he made his appearance only in July 2021 against Sri Lanka. In 16 ODIs, Samson has an average of 56.66 and a strike rate of close to a hundred, with three fifties, besides the century he scored on Thursday.

The Rajasthan Royals skipper prefers to bat at No. 3 or No. 4 for his franchise and bats at the same position for Kerala in domestic cricket. For India, though, the innings in Paarl was just the third occasion when he has got an opportunity to bat at No.3. After the knock in Paarl, the Thiruvananthapuram lad hinted that he prefers to bat up the order. “This format gives you some extra time to understand the wicket and the bowler’s mindset. Batting at the top of the order gives you those 10-20 extra deliveries,” said Samson.
With ODI stalwart Virat Kohli occupying the No. 3 slot and Shreyas Iyer being preferred at No. 4, the team management had tried to give Sanju the role of a finisher in the year leading up to the ODI World Cup. They made him bat at No. 5 and No. 6 when the senior pros were either injured or rested.


Samson didn’t do badly but when the big tournament came calling, the selectors opted for Suryakumar Yadav instead.
KL Rahul, India’s skipper for the ODI series, even admitted that Samson hasn’t received enough opportunities at the top of the order.

Samson didn’t get an opportunity to bat in the first ODI. He chopped the ball on to his stumps when he was on 12 in the second ODI in Gqeberha. So when he walked out to bat on Thursday, he knew his career was on the line. Pushed into a corner, he delivered.
“The last three, four months were challenging for me mentally. So going through all that and coming here doing what I did today, I feel really happy and grateful.”
“I’ve been blessed in my genes. My father is also a sportsman, so however many setbacks you have, I think there’s always no other way but to bounce back, just think about how much you can work on yourself and how you can come back more strongly,” he added.


Bijumon N, with whom Samson has been working closely recently, said that he has adopted a more refined approach towards Samson’s batting. “Though I can’t divulge more details, Sanju has tried to change the approach to his batting. I am pleased that it has started showing results and the century exemplifies it. He is also working hard to improve his fitness,” said Bijumon.
Sanju couldn’t have timed his ton any better. It may have not only saved his fledgling career but also came as a perfect gift a day before his fifth wedding anniversary.


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