IPL's new find, Sanju Samson: A Viswanath in him?

Thiruvananthapuram, April 18 (IANS) The latest star on the cricket horizon is Kerala's teenage sensation Sanju Samson and his middle name - Viswanath - is not known to many.

For the 18-year-old Sanju, after his dream debut for Rajasthan Royals last week in the Indian Premier League (IPL), the name Viswanath has however started to gain significance.

"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.

Viswanath has two sons. The elder one, Saly Samson, is in his second year of college and plays for the state Under-25 cricket team while the younger one has just found instant stardom after he kept wickets for Rajasthan Royals, taking three catches and making the winning hit in his unbeaten 27-run-knock against Kings XI Punjab on Sunday.

Sanju is also a star on Facebook now. His timeline has a number of pictures of him in cricket gear and those of his friends - and postings by well-wishers complimenting him on his IPL showing.

Speaking to IANS, Viswanath said even though he played for Delhi in the 1994 national football championship (Santosh Trophy), cricket was the first love for both his son.

"It was only after his Sunday performance that our neighbours came to know that he is the boy next door," said Vishwanath, who now is a football coach. He took voluntary retirement from Delhi Police in 2009 and the entire family returned to their hometown here.

Vishwanath 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.

"Since both my children are always travelling, we decided to move to the city so that their travelling is made comfortable," added the father.

Sanju, Viswanath says, got a huge morale booster after Indian speedster and statemate S. Sreesanth became his friend and advisor.

Obviously, Sreesanth had a hand in Rajasthan Royals signing Sanju this season. He was among the four picked from the talent pool, Kerala ODI captain Sachin Baby, Mumbai left-arm spinner Harmeet Singh and Jharkhand seamer Rahul Shukla being the others.

Sanju was signed by Kolkata Knight Riders last season, but didn't get a game. His next big break came when he was selected in India's Under-19 side for the Asia Cup. His poor run in Malaysia, scoring 14 runs in three games, saw him lose his place in the Under-19 World Cup squad for Australia.

Missing the World Cup only made him more determined to succeed and he 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.

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.

(Sanu George can be contacted at sanu.g@ians.in)

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Bowling worries for Super Kings

Bowling worries for Super Kings

After failing to defend a mammoth 205 against Kings XI Punjab, Chennai have a lot to think about. More »

Punjab pull off another big chase

Punjab pull off another big chase

GAME 7, SHARJAH—Maxwell, Miller, Pujara chase down Rajasthan's 192. More »

T20 test for Cheteshwar Pujara

T20 test for Cheteshwar Pujara

The class act from Saurashtra may have to rethink his approach to the mannerless format. More »

Special meeting to replace Srinivasan

Special meeting to replace Srinivasan

The BCCI is likely to convene a special general body meeting (SGM) in May to replace N Srinivasan on the board's disciplinary committee. More »

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Some members stressed on the need for proposing names with an "impeccable record and clean image". More »

[INTERVIEW] Lankan veterans grateful for 'unwavering' fans

[INTERVIEW] Lankan veterans grateful for 'unwavering' fans

Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara go over their World T20 win, and feel grateful to have fans whose support remains unwavering in victory and de… More »

Roach escapes injury after car crash

Roach escapes injury after car crash

The West Indies fast bowler lost control of his BMW sedan due to slippery road conditions in his native Barbados on Saturday. More »

Need to improve fielding: Ashwin

Need to improve fielding: Ashwin

Lacklustre Super Kings, fast-improving Sanju Samson and other news from IPL-7. More »

Repose faith in Indian coaches

Repose faith in Indian coaches

All of them cost plenty of dollars which I feel is unnecessary for a two- month tournament, says former cricketer Yajurvindra Singh. More »

Cook relieved after period in limbo

Cook relieved after period in limbo

The England captain is looking forward to a fresh start after a dispiriting Ashes defeat last year. More »

Chaos threatens to engulf SL again

Chaos threatens to engulf SL again

As Lanka's head coach decides to jump ship, euphoria over winning an ICC tournament has dissipated into fuistration. More »

Jayasuriya unhappy at Farbrace conduct

Jayasuriya unhappy at Farbrace conduct

Sri Lanka's chief selector is upset at news of head coach Paul Farbrace's possible move to England. More »

Panel can help clean mess: Raghavan

Panel can help clean mess: Raghavan

The former CBI Director is one of three candidates proposed by the BCCI to head the enquiry into the IPL betting and spot-fixing scandal. More »

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

The Nawab of Najafgarh says a good run in IPL could help his chances of a comeback on India's tour to England in June. More »

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

Five things England must do to bounce back

Five things England must do to bounce back

England have appointed a new head coach in Peter Moores. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

‘Felt like helpless minority’

‘Felt like helpless minority’

Former BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke says emotions got the better of Srinivasan and he tried to oversimplify things by calling Meiyappan an “enthusiast.” More »

Royal test for Kings

Royal test for Kings

Preview — Clash of philosophies between Australia-centric teams More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

The world record that nearly wasn't

The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

Moores gets second stint as coach

Moores gets second stint as coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »