Sanju Samson revealed that he got "nice congratulatory messages" from Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni after he was named as the new captain of Rajasthan Royals ahead of the 2021 Indian Premier League.
The 14th edition of the lucrative T20 league is going to be huge for Samson who is also vying for a spot in the Indian side for the T20 World Cup. The stylish right-hander, who has scored over 2500 runs in 107 IPL encounters, has played six seasons for Rajasthan but will be leading them for the first time.
"I look at captaincy as more of a service to the team. A captain is someone who is there to provide the right kind of atmosphere that every individual requires in a team and backs each one of them. It’s a lot about man-management skills—giving positive feedback to your players, understanding where they are coming from," Samson told Hindustan Times.
"The fact that my team and the franchise trust me to do this job gives great confidence that there is something in me. I firmly believe that a captain is only good if the team is good. The Royals have a quality bunch of great players and amazing support staff backing them.
"I’ve known most of them for years; they are like family. So, I’m in a comfortable space with the people I have around me. I have been part of the Royals from my teen days in 2013. Playing for one team for this long to now becoming captain, it’s a proud moment."
Samson will be working closely with Kumar Sangakkara who was appointed as the team's Director of Cricket ahead of the season. "Sanga is a legend; not just because of his cricket. He is a wonderful person to interact with. That takes a lot of pressure off me. When we had our first chat, I just felt I was blessed to be with him," said Samson.
"He knows exactly where I am coming from, what I will be feeling and going through playing for my country and leading an IPL team at this age. I couldn’t have asked for anything more than having Sanga as my partner in this role."
Rajasthan won the inaugural edition but haven't won a title since then. They finished last in the previous edition and Samson wants his team to play a fearless brand of cricket in the forthcoming tournament.
"I don't think we did too much wrong in the last season. If you look at our XI on paper, we're one of the best. So I would like to tell everyone that we are a great bunch of players and we just need to play some good cricket. If we are in the right mindset as a team, I believe good things are ahead of us," he said.
"This format demands a lot of fearless cricket, be it in batting, bowling or fielding. It's all about speed, power and expressing yourself. That's what I expect from my team."
Samson also doesn't want to put too much pressure on South African all-rounder Chris Morris who created history in the 2021 auction as Rajasthan acquired him for a record amount of INR 16.25 crore.
"I would not like to put him (Morris) under too much pressure or tell him that he's the biggest member of this team. Everyone has a big role to play; even someone bowling one over might have a crucial role. But we're excited to have Morris back," said Samson.
"He’s a very happy-go-lucky person, someone who likes to keep the atmosphere light. But when he enters the ground, he is a completely different person—competitive and eager to win matches. It’s great to have an individual like that in the team."