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Samson to use UAE matches to sharpen his game

Sharjah: Sanju Samson, who is hailed as the rising star of Indian cricket, says he wants to live in the present by giving his best in every match.

Samson became the youngest player, at the age of 18, to hit a half century in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and also bag the best young player award of the IPL 2013 season.

He cracked an elegant 65 runs off 47 balls with eight boundaries and two sixes against UAE in the first match of the Asian Cricket Council Under-19 Asia Cup opening match against UAE at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Saturday.

Speaking to Gulf News, Samson, who is also the vice-captain of the India Under-19 team, said: “In last year’s Asia Under-19 tournament I could not fully utilise the opportunity. This time I am very keen to derive maximum benefit out of it. This is a very good stage to display my talent and skill.”

India’s star batsman Rahul Dravid had once commented that “Samson is a natural player who has shots all around the wicket and can evolve as a good batsman for the future.”

When asked about the influence of Dravid, whom he addresses as sir, Samson said: “The biggest advantage that I encountered in my dealings with Dravid sir is that not once I had to go to him and seek his advice.

“He made it a point to always come and give me guidance. Though we both were playing Twenty20 matches we discussed all aspects of cricket. Through his guidance I learned and understood how to tackle different situations. I am so lucky to have met him and played with him.”

Samson considers every day in cricket as a learning experience. “One-day format is something which I love. I want to learn from One-day cricket on how I can spend time on the crease and accelerate my scoring rate and bat according to the situation. With many matches to be played in the coming days in UAE, I see this as a good opportunity to sharpen my talent.”

Samson’s rise from Thiruvananthapuram, far away from the main centres of Indian cricket, had surprised many.

However, Samson enjoys the challenge of making a mark from there. “Frankly I am so happy to have landed in Thiruvananthapuram and train at Medical College ground under Biju George sir. I learned a lot from seniors and got to train with the Kerala senior team there. I never hesitate to ask my seniors about my techniques.”

So what is the best advice he has received? “Every day I keep getting advice. I need only one short advice to get motivated. What I have learned from them is that in cricket never rate yourself based on the result of the match. What is paramount is the extent of effort and preparation that you put in and how you carry it into to ground to give my best. Whether I hit a duck or a century I won’t allow myself to be influenced by it. I will be the same on and off the field.”

Samson has not set his eyes too far ahead. “Now is not the time to think about the future because for me it is the present what matters. I want to utilise all the chance and give my best. Right now it is to do well in Asia Cup for India Under-19 team.”