Kerala wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson finds himself at the centre of a controversy involving the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA).
Sanju did not practice with Kerala ahead of its Ranji Trophy group C match against Tripura at the Barabati Stadium here due to a knee injury. He had requested KCA to release him for rehab at the National Cricket Academy (NCA). Since he never got a response, he had to be with the team even though not playing the match.
It's understood that the 22-year-old was punished for his alleged misconduct during Kerala's match against Goa (November 13-16), where he threw his bat in the dressing room after getting out on zero in the second innings and left the stadium without informing anyone.
The matter escalated when his father Vishwanadh Samson had asked KCA president T. C. Mathew, who also heads the NCA, to release him for rehabilitation. After Vishwanadh raised the issue in the media, Sanju was allowed to go home after the match against Tripura.
However, there was uncertainty over when he would start his rehab at the NCA.
KCA officials allege that Vishwanadh used bad language while speaking to Mathew. But the latter has reportedly denied such allegations.
Now the KCA has formed a four-member 'independent' committee to look into the allegations against Sanju. A disciplinary action cannot be ruled out.
Sources, however, said the problem had its roots in Sanju gaining popularity two years back in the Indian Premier League (IPL). He was being blamed for the state team's defeats and understandably came under tremendous pressure.
Punishing him for the bat-throwing incident now appears to be an after-thought as Sanju was allowed to play the next match against Andhra in Guwahati. It is understood that Sanju did not have any issues with the team management.
Coach Tinu Yohannan vouched for it. “The team is with him all throughout. The team will always be there with him, stand with him. It is unfortunate this has happened. It is just a phase that he will go through and am sure he will learn a lot from this experience.
"A little bit (communication) was an issue. That’s what happened. Decisions should have been prompt. Because of the delay (the problem came). He is a complete team man. He always stands with the team. Despite injury, he chose to play for the team," said Yohannan.