Australia legend Shane Warne believes Sanju Samson will be India’s ‘next superstar’ international player after his stunning form in the Indian Premier League.
Warne, a mentor at Samson’s franchise Rajasthan Royals, has worked closely with the 23-year-old and seen firsthand the improvements he’s made since crossing over from the Delhi Daredevils last season.
The right-hander has struck 379 runs at 34.45 in 12 games in this year’s IPL, with an impressive strike-rate of 140.
“He’s good against pace and spin in all conditions and I think he’s going to be the next superstar of Indian cricket,” Warne said.
“He’s the new rock star, Sanju Samson that’s for sure. He’s an outstanding player and he’s a quality international cricketer.”
Samson made his sole international appearance in a T20 against Zimbabwe in 2015 but has since shuffled down the pecking order, with the likes of fellow young guns Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul picked in their most recent squad that will tour England for an ODI and T20 series this year.
Warne played alongside and against the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Ravi Shastri and VVS Laxman, but still believes there are current players that can match the heights of those players.
The former leg-spinner says Samson, and Delhi Daredevils batsman Rishabh Pant are rare talents that deserved an extended run in the national side.
“India at the moment are blessed with some riches of talent, I think our man Sanju Samson is right up there with (Risabh) Pant,” he said.
“I think those two guys are probably the two best young Indian batsman I’ve seen in a long, long time.”
Warne’s Royals, the side he captained to the inaugural IPL title back in 2008, have won their last three matches on the back of three consecutive player-of-the-match performances by Englishman Jos Buttler.
They next face Kolkata Knight Riders on Tuesday, with Warne having to be convinced to stay on for the match despite having a flight scheduled back to Australia.
“I’m meant to be on a flight tomorrow morning (out of India) but it looks like I’ve had my arm twisted and I’m going to be in real trouble from people back home in Australia,” Warne said.
“I might miss a few meetings but I won’t miss my daughter’s birthday on Friday and my son’s birthday on Sunday.”
Despite Warne’s family obligations cutting short his stay in India, he did confirm he’d return should the Royals make it to the final four.
“I’ll probably stay for one more game and then go back, and then hopefully we’re in the finals and I’ll come back for them.”
Rajasthan currently sit fifth on the IPL table with a must-win clash against Kolkata followed by their final match against Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore that could decide the fate of the playoffs.
Australian viewers can watch the 2018 season of the IPL exclusively on Fox Sports