Sreesanth was like my elder brother who helped me both on and off field during IPL, says Sanju V. Samson

There wasn’t any ticker-tape parade or an open-jeep motorcade. Nevertheless Indian Premier League (IPL)’s golden boy Sanju V. Samson was accorded a warm welcome by fans and sports enthusiasts on his return home on Monday.

Sanju arrived in the city from Kolkata after receiving the IPL’s most promising youngster award.

At the arrival longue, he was surprised to see a scrum of reporters and television cameramen before him. Ill at ease at all the attention, Sanju mumbled answers to the microphones thrust at him.

The 18-year-old in a husky voice recalled the great week he had in the IPL and said it was the culmination of hard work and prayers of his well-wishers.

The inevitable question of spot fixing and Sreesanth’s role in the scandal was met with a straight bat as casually as he negotiated the world’s best bowlers in the IPL.

“I have no idea about spot fixing. Sreesanth was like my elder brother who helped me both on and off field during the IPL. Like many, I was surprised when I heard about his involvement in the scandal,” he said. Sreesanth had played a big part in getting the IPL contract for Sanju. It was Sreesanth who recommended Sanju’s name to the Rajasthan Royal’s management.

The spot fixing scandal initially did affect the morale of Rajasthan Royals, he said.

“But the team overcame it and we played some good cricket and lost the eliminator narrowly to Mumbai Indians,” Sanju said.

Sanju said the IPL performance will put him in good stead in future. “I want to carry on the good form and do well in all forms of cricket,” he said. Sanju was received at the Thiruvananthapuram Airport by KCA and TDFA officials.