IPL 2021: Captaincy could help Samson, Pant achieve greatness, writes Ramiz Raja

Ramiz Raja/Dubai
Filed on April 14, 2021
Rajasthan Royals captain Sanju Samson with Kumar Sangakkara after the match against Punjab Kings. (IPL)

The change starts in the head when you take up the responsibility of leadership

What a great move! By making Sanju Samson and Rishabh Pant captains of their respective teams, the Rajasthan Royals and the Delhi Capitals have pegged the unfulfilled talent of the Kerala player and the flamboyant wicketkeeper-batsman from Delhi to the crease to force greatness out of them!

The days of cameos are gone, they have been told in a way. They are now the lead actors!

And look at what Sanju produced. 119 off 63 balls! From an aesthetic point of view, it will always rate as the best ever knock at the IPL. I have never seen somebody so relaxed and classy at the crease chasing 222.

At most times he can be compared to Rohit Sharma: stately poise with extra time to play the ball and sending it over the ropes with no more than a delectable caress!

The change starts in the head when you take up the responsibility of leadership. There is this steely resolve that lifts you.

But leading an international dugout is not easy. I remember a comment from Eddie Jones, a former Aussie rugby coach, who is now the coach of the England rugby team. Jones said that telling off an Aussie in the team meeting was acceptable, but telling off an English player in the presence of other players is taken as an offence by that individual.

How to deal with emotions, different cultures besides winning is going to be a teaser for Sanju and Rishabh as well.

In Sanju’s case, he will now have to find reasons for his failures, answers for his spasmodic concentration and grounds for playing to the gallery rather than exercising real influence on the games.

Whatever hurdles there might be, I think sky is the limit for this prodigious talent!

On the other hand, Rishabh, a streetwise cricketer, has the gift of temperament. Importantly he has Ricky Ponting as the head coach at the Delhi Capitals who will always have his back.

Ponting will allow him to think on his feet and will allow him few failures as well so that he learns from his mistakes.

Rishabh’s great challenge will be to balance natural aggression with the hula-hoop of captaincy. Can he do it? I think he can. Exciting times await us!

Ramiz Raja is a former Pakistan captain and a key member of the 1992 World Cup-winning team

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