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Indian Premier League 2020

The gym conversation with Kohli that made Samson change his approach

by Wisden Staff 2-minute read

Sanju Samson is currently the talk of IPL 2020, and the Kerala batsman has revealed how a conversation with India captain Virat Kohli changed his approach to the sport.

Samson, 25, has always been a player to watch out for, especially in the IPL, but in this edition, he has reached another level. His two half-centuries in Rajasthan Royals’ (RR) two matches this season has propelled the side to the top of the table with two wins in as many games.

His clean hitting, particularly, has caught the eye, and his fine form has been credited to his extensive training during the lockdown – he revealed he had faced more than 20,000 deliveries while training in lockdown from his mentor Ralphi Gomez, the former Kerala all-rounder.

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Samsom put all the extra effort down to a talk with Kohli during a gym session with the Indian captain, while he was with the Indian team in New Zealand earlier this year.

“I had a really amazing experience when I was training with the Indian team,” he said. “I was in the gym with Virat bhai and asked him about his training routines, and why he puts so much energy into his fitness. He then asked me how long I think I will play, so I replied that I could go on for maybe 10 years more.

“So he said I could do whatever and eat whatever my heart desired after these 10 years. But during this period, I should give whatever I have to cricket. I think his words really changed my perspective and my dedication towards the game. I realised I could do more.”

Samson, a wicketkeeper-batsman, has been on the fringes of the Indian team for a while now, and with MS Dhoni now official retired from international cricket, the prospects of Samson sealing a place for himself in the national set-up has improved.

However, when his big-hitting drew comparisons with Dhoni, Samson was quick to shoot it down. “I am sure that no one can and no one should try to play like him,” he said. “It’s not at all easy to play like MS Dhoni, so leave that aside. I never think of playing like him. He is a legend of Indian cricket, legend of the game. I only focus on my game, what I can do, how I can do it best and how I can win matches.”

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