Getting noticed by Rahul Dravid and then the legend himself asking a young Sanju Samson to play for his IPL side, Rajasthan Royals, was the “biggest moment of my life”, says the Kerala-born ‘keeper-batsman.
Rahul Dravid’s last season at the Royals, in 2013, turned out to be Samson’s first for the team. The former captain would then coach the team as well. The 26-year-old recalls that unforgettable moment when Rahul Dravid asked him to be part of his franchise, which Samson would go on lead in IPL 2021.
He has now been reunited with Rahul Dravid as Samson, along with Ishan Kishan, is selected for the tour of Sri Lanka, for 3 ODIs and 3 T20Is, and Dravid is the coach. Samson talks about the influence Rahul Dravid has on the players coming into the national side from under-19 or India A team.
“Each and every individual in the India A side or the juniors going into the Indian team have been fortunate to go through a person called Rahul Dravid. We are very lucky to learn our cricket from him.
“I remember going to the Rajasthan Royals trials one day – I batted really well – and he came up to me and asked me a question ‘can you play for my team?’. So, that was the biggest moment of my life, and I can never forget that. That shows how great a human being he is, and I really enjoy his company,” Samson told Star Sports.
To have Rahul Dravid as our coach, couldn’t ask for more: Devdutt Padikkal
Another young rising star who has learned his art from Rahul Dravid is Devdutt Padikkal. After big runs in domestic cricket and a season-and-half of IPL success, the left-hander was also given his maiden India call-up.
He has worked with the former India batsman at different levels. He talks about the calmness and humble nature of Rahul Dravid which always takes him by awe.
“Being from the same school, the first time I actually met him was in one of our sports day events at school, where I had to present him with a bouquet – that is when I spoke to him for the first time. I have always been awestruck by how incredibly calm and gentle a human being he is. To have achieved so much in cricket and to be so down-to-earth, humble, and kind towards everyone is incredible to watch,” Devdutt Padikkal said.
“To have him as our coach, you couldn’t ask for anything more, and to have a mentor like him beside you, it’s just a great feeling, and hopefully, I can pick up a lot of things from him,” he added.