He was touted as one of the future stars of Indian cricket after his exploits for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League and Champions League T20 in 2013 but Sanju Samson failed to justify the tag in the following years. Runs dried up in domestic cricket and critics even began to question his temperament and technique.
In 2015, months after being elevated as captain of Kerala Ranji team, he was stripped of the post as a result of a string of poor scores. Last year, he even lost his place in the Kerala side due to alleged indiscipline and the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) formed an enquiry committee to probe the charges against him.
He was let off by the state cricket body only after he tendered an apology. But one man who showed immense faith in the 22-year-old during the turbulent phase in his career was Rahul Dravid, the Delhi Daredevils mentor. The former India captain who took Sanju under his wings at the Rajasthan Royals more than four seasons ago, has literally handpicked him wherever he has gone after that, be it India 'A' or the Daredevils. Despite scoring just 291 runs in IPL last season, Sanju was one of the three players who played all games for Daredevils last season.
On Tuesday, Sanju repaid the faith shown in him by Dravid by smashing a blazing hundred. Though a man of few words, Sanju was quick to acknowledge the role played by Dravid in his career soon after his century knock. "We had a very good pre-season camp. We are blessed to have Dravid sir with us. So I came into the tournament in a happy frame of mind," said Sanju.
Another person who has played a major role in Sanju's career in the recent months is former India stumper Kiran More. More came in touch with Sanju during a camp for wicketkeepers at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru.
"I have always maintained Sanju is a great talent. This was an outstanding knock from him and I am absolutely delighted. Even when he was going through a rough patch during last season in domestic cricket, I told him to concentrate on the game and not to be worried about anything else.