Sreesanth and Samson both hail from Kerala and the fast bowler was impressed by the young right-handed batsman’s talent at a very early age.
Sanju Samson was picked by Rajasthan Royals in 2013 at the age of 19, but it needed some lying on the part of Sreesanth to Rahul Dravid, who was the RR captain in 2013, for Samson to get a place in the XI. Sreesanth said he told Dravid that Sanju Samson had hit him for six sixes in a match.
“Rahul bhai listened to me when I introduced Sanju to him. 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.
Rahul bhai saw Sanju Samson bat he was convinced: Sreesanth
After being impressed with Samson in the practice matches during the trials, Rahul Dravid was so impressed with the then-youngster that he told Sreesanth to not let Samson go to trials of other franchises.
“He didn’t do too well in a few practice games. 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’,” the former pacer recalls.
Sanju Samson played 11 matches in the 2013 IPL season, scoring 206 runs. And from thereon, he has been on the rise. The 28-year-old now has been the captain of the Rajasthan Royals franchise for the past three seasons, leading them to only their second IPL final last year, which RR lost to the Gujarat Titans.
Samson made his India debut in 2015. However, chances in the national colors have been few and far between for the Kerala superstar. Samson now works with Rahul Dravid, who became the head coach of the Indian team in 2021.