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Kumar Sangakkara Breaks Silence On Sanju Samson’s Dismissal, Says “Depends On…”

After losing to Delhi Capitals by 20 runs at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in IPL 2024, Kumar Sangakkara, the director of cricket at Rajasthan Royals, believes his team should have won the match despite the dramatic dismissal of captain Sanju Samson. Samson slammed a scintillating 46-ball 86, where he was timing all of his eight fours and six sixes like a dream. His fine knock came to an end on the fourth ball of the 16th over in dramatic circumstances when Shai Hope took a screamer of a catch at long-on, balancing himself just millimetres before the boundary ropes off Mukesh Kumar.

The third umpire Michael Gough checked a couple of angles without finding evidence of Hope’s boots coming in contact with the boundary rope, with the decision given as out. Samson had begun walking back after seeing the replays, but on seeing ‘OUT’ flashed on the screen, he walked up to the umpires in protest and even tried to take a review, but it was in vain.

“It depends on replays and angles; sometimes you think the foot has touched. It is a difficult one for third umpire to judge. The game was at a crucial stage; what happens in cricket is you have different perspectives. At the end of the day, you have to abide by the decision third umpire has made.

“If we have some other kind of opinion, we will share and sort it out with the umpires. Irrespective of that dismissal, we should have won the game. But Delhi played really well and fought till the end. They were very smart with their bowling at the back-end,” said Sangakkara in the post-match press conference.

Later on, Samson was fined 30 per cent of his match fees for a Level 1 offence under Article 2.8 of the IPL’s Code of Conduct, which talks about showing dissent at a decision made by the umpires. “On-field umpires have to go by what TV umpire say. At the end of the day, all the players have to abide by it. There’s a lot of pressure out in the middle on players and officials, so we try to sort it out the best way we can,” added Sangakkara.

Pravin Amre, the DC assistant coach, praised Hope’s athletic effort at the deep to take Samson’s catch. “In IPL, some momentums are very crucial and it was a decider moment in the game. Sanju was batting so well in the game and we have to give credit to the way Hope judged and balanced for the catch.

“Plus, umpires are there, so there’s a lot of technology, and their decision is the final decision. I will give credit to Hope as it wasn’t an easy catch. I spoke to him after the game and he said he anticipated it as the ball came very, very fast,” he said.

With 471 runs in 11 matches, Samson has been consistently amongst the runs for RR, including hitting five half-centuries, to be at third place in the Orange cap race. Amassing runs at a consistent rate was broadly identified as an issue with Samson in past seasons, something which is on display this season, apart from not being dismissed by spin and more importantly, upping his strike-rate whenever needed, as said by Sangakkara.

“The biggest thing about this season for Sanju is, he’s having a lot of clarity about the way he should bat. There are certain stages of the game that he seems to lose a little bit of concentration, which we’ve addressed from past seasons. He’s really bought into it and into his role, not just as a captain but also when he bats just as a batter. (He’s) kind of changed his mindset about the importance of rest and recovery, rather than just training all the time and being tired mentally and physically. So he’s really enjoying that.

“The rest is just his exceptional ability. He’s a very special player and when he is fresh and focused, there’s nothing that he really can’t do. I think his qualities are exceptional. He is a very humble, grounded guy.

“Not much on social media, he likes his privacy. He really cares for the rest of the group. So those are great qualities to have apart from his talent and skill. So, I think, he’d be exceptional in that group going into the World Cup. Again, he’s just exceptionally talented against both pace and spin. High pace doesn’t bother him, turn doesn’t bother him. It’s just the case of focusing and trusting the areas that he scores in and really keeping the intent going.

“It’s not just about the sixes and fours, it’s also about making sure a good ball goes for one or two. But again, he can play any shot in the book. He’s got great power to clear the boundaries, and he’s just exceptionally gifted against spin,” explained Sangakkara.

He signed off by not taking sides in who between Samson and Pant should be India’s main wicketkeeper-batter in the upcoming T20 World Cup. “I think he’s already in the World Cup squad, right? I don’t know, really. That’s really up to Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma and how they see the combination. But he’s made his case, so hopefully he’ll have a good run in the World Cup.”

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