Sanju Samson benefits from Delhi Daredevils’ mentor Rahul Dravid’s faith | ipl 2017 | Hindustan Times
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Sanju Samson benefits from Delhi Daredevils’ mentor Rahul Dravid’s faith

Sanju Samson, the Kerala wicketkeeper batsman, dedicated his maiden IPL T20 century to former India cricketer-turned-coach and Delhi Daredevils batting mentor Rahul Dravid, who kept faith in him despite hardships.

ipl 2017 Updated: Apr 13, 2017 01:23 IST
Sanju Samson of the Delhi Daredevil had scored his first T20 hundred in the 2017 Indian Premier League against Rising Pune Supergiant in Pune on Tuesday.
Sanju Samson of the Delhi Daredevil had scored his first T20 hundred in the 2017 Indian Premier League against Rising Pune Supergiant in Pune on Tuesday. (BCCI)

Sanju Samson of Delhi Daredevils became the first player to hit a century in the 2017 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL). In scoring his 63-ball 102 during Delhi Daredevils’ 97-run victory over Rising Pune Supergiant on Tuesday, Samson became the 12th Indian to notch up a century in the IPL. (IPL SCHEDULE | RESULTS)

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And having come through a tough time in recent months, Sanju Samson was full of praise for the one man who has stood by him through his career — Delhi Daredevils batting mentor Rahul Dravid.

The former India batsman, known affectionately as The Wall, kept faith in the 22-year-old Sanju Samson despite alleged misconduct claims saw him being dropped from the Kerala side during the recently concluded Ranji Trophy season.

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A knee injury also plagued the young wicketkeeper batsman but Rahul Dravid lobbied for him.

Back to the beginning

Rahul Dravid initially came to realise Samson’s ability four years ago when both played for Rajasthan Royals. It was in 2013, when Dravid was captain of the Rajasthan side that Samson was drafted in as a 17-year-old.

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Dravid led the team to the 2013 Champions League T20 final before retiring and taking up a role as mentor. Dravid took Samson under his wing at every stage, even convincing the Royals to retain the Kerala player for the 2014 season, making him the youngest IPL player to ever be retained.

Since then, Dravid batted for Samson wherever he went, from the India A side to the Delhi Daredevils franchise where he took up the role of mentor ahead of the 2016 IPL season.

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Dravid had Samson brought into the Delhi franchise and continued to back him despite a fairly poor season. Samson only managed 291 runs in his first season with the Delhi Daredevils but had Rahul Dravid’s support as he was one of three players to play all the games in the 2016 season.

Dravid’s faith finally paid off on Tuesday as Samson struck the maiden ton of his T20 career.

Unbridled gratitude

Sanju Samson dedicated his knock — which he described as the best of his life — to Dravid for his constant support throughout his career.

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“I am very happy to play this knock and very happy that the team won the match. I am blessed to be a part of this team, working with Rahul sir and the rest of the support staff.

“I am in a very good space of mind and the people here have always backed me and encouraged me,” Samson said at the post-match presentation in Pune when he was announced as Man of the Match.

He later spoke in further detail with representatives of the league.

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“The dedication must go to the Delhi Daredevils management. I thank Rahul Dravid, Zubin Bharucha, Paddy Upton and each member of the team who has supported me throughout. Last IPL season was not great for me, but they supported me throughout and I dedicate this knock to them,” Samson was quoted as saying in an interview published on the IPL’s website (www.iplt20.com).

He reiterated the fact that he felt “blessed” to have worked and learned from Dravid.

“I was 17 when I was with the Rajasthan Royals and since then I have been working with him (Dravid) and feel very blessed to be learning under his guidance. Not too many people get this chance and I feel I am extremely lucky to have him around and guide me,” Samson added.