Bangalore April 30, 2013 Sanju Samson’s 41-ball 63 helped Rajasthan Royals’ (RR) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by four wickets on Monday.
On Monday, at 18 years, 169 days, Samson became the youngest player to score an IPL fifty. He also bagged the Man of the match award for his valiant knock.
Sanju Viswanath Samson, Kerala's teenage sensation, made his IPL debut this season and so far he’s played a part in Royals victory in both the games – against Kings XI Punjab and Royal Challengers - he has played.
"Oh, the name Viswanath has nothing to do with our country's most gifted cricketer G.R. Viswanath. Since my father's name was P. Viswanath, I got that name and it followed to my son. Now with cricket the passion of both my sons, which father would not like his kids to emulate the legend," said his proud father Samson Viswanath, a former Delhi Police constable.
Saly Samson, Sanju’s elder brother is in his second year of college and plays for the state Under-25 cricket team.
Viswanath had represented Delhi in the 1994 national football championship – Santosh Trophy. He took voluntary retirement from Delhi Police in 2009 and is currently a football coach.
"It was only after his Sunday performance that our neighbours came to know that he is the boy next door," said Vishwanath.
Vishwanath, currently settled in Thiruvananthapuram, hails from a fishing hamlet on the city's outskirts, but the family moved to a rented home in the city to facilitate the two youngsters' cricketing.
Sanju was picked by Kolkata Knight Riders last season but he didn’t get to play a game. He was left out of the U-19 World Cup squad after his failure in Malaysia. Missing it, however, made him more determined, his father says. Sanju went on to score 377 runs in 10 innings - with two centuries - in various domestic tournaments and then made 222 in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
Viswanath acknowledges Indian speedster Sreesanth’s role in Royals signing Sanju this season.
R.K.V. Gopakumar, chairman of the selectors of Kerala's Ranji Trophy team, said they picked Sanju to play for Kerala when he was a few days short of 17 in 2011.
"He is such an unassuming person and appears quite mature for his age and, mind you, now he is awaiting his Class 12 results. Since making his debut in 2011, we have seen him returning from first class cricket matches to write his examinations. We are all happy that our state has produced another hugely talented cricketer and wish he goes the full distance," said Gopakumar.
"Even though he keeps wickets, to give him absolute freedom, we have selected another wicketkeeper in the state squad," added Gopakumar.