He hails from Trivandrum, Kerala and represents the Kerala cricket team in domestic cricket. He is the youngest player to score a half-century in the IPL and Champions League Twenty20. He achieved this on 29 April 2013 in the match between Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore at the age of 18. Sanju was adjudged as the "Best Young Player of the Season" in the 2013 IPL through an official poll. He was appointed the Vice-captain of the India U-19 team for the 2013 Top End Under-19 Series in Australia. He has been included in the Indian squad for the limited overs matches in India tour of England 2014.
Sanju was born on 11 November 1994 in Trivandrum, India to Lijy and Samson Viswanath. His father Samson Viswanath was formerly a police constable in Delhi Police. His father has played a key role in shaping up Sanju's cricket career. Sanju attended Rosary Senior Secondary School, Delhi and graduated high school from St. Joseph’s Higher Secondary School, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. He is pursuing his bachelor of arts degree at Mar Ivanios College, Trivandrum.
Sanju was a member of the under 13 cricket team of Kerala. He captained the side and scored a century in his debut match and went on to score 4 centuries in 5 matches in the South Zone Under-13 tournament. He was also the captain of Under 16 and Under 19 Kerala State Cricket Teams. As a member of the Kerala Under 16 Team he scored a 200 not out off just 138 balls in a Vijay Merchant Trophy South Zone match against Goa. He was the All-India leading run scorer in the season and was selected to play in the Ranji Trophy for Kerala when he was 15 years of age.
His impressive technique combined with an ability to time the ball first earned him a place in Kerala's U-19 team. Consistent outings in the Cooch Behar Trophy (domestic U-19 championship) elevated him into India's team for the U-19 Asia Cup in 2012
Sanju represented India in the Under 19 Asia Cup Tournament held in Malaysia in June 2012. His performance was below par in the tournament scoring only 14 runs from 3 matches. In 2013 Under 19 Asia cup in UAE, he scored a century in the final, which helped India retain the cup.
He made his debut for Kerala Ranji Trophy team on 3 November 2011. He is the vice captain of under 19 Indian team.
He is the current Ranji trophy captain of Kerala.
In the IPL, he was a member of the Kolkata Knight Riders players pool in 2012, but did not play. In 2013, he signed for Rajasthan Royals. and made his IPL debut against Kings XI Punjab on 13 April 2013 after the regular wicket keeper Dishant Yagnik failed to recover from an injury. He impressed with a catch to remove Rajagopal Sathish off the bowling of James Faulkner. He also effected a run-out of Praveen Kumar from behind the stumps and another catch.The Rajasthan Royals were chasing a target of 126 runs to win. He joined Ajinkya Rahane at the middle when his team was facing some anxious moments with the score at 79/4 in 12.5 overs. Though he faced a strong LBW appeal on the very first ball he faced, he opened his account with a beautifully timed backfoot punch off Azhar Mehmood. He scored a composed 27 runs off 23 deliveries and his unbroken partnership with Rahane for 47 runs made sure Rajasthan Royals won the match with 4 balls to spare. The Hindu was effusive in its praise about his performance, saying, "The Kerala cricketer’s calm performance won him many admirers and he may prove to be one of the answers to Royals’ problems in the middle-order." Cricket Commentator Harsha Bhogle tweeted seeing Sanju bat "must confess I like the look of sanju samson. first time I saw him play. good crop coming from Kerala."
Sanju played his second match for Rajasthan Royals against the Royal Challengers Bangalore on 29 April 2013. Rajasthan Royals were chasing a tough target of 172 when Sanju was promoted up the batting order to No.3. His scored 63 off 41 balls and his partnership with Shane Watson of 68 runs off 46 balls laid the foundation for the Rajasthan Royals' victory. He won the Man-of-the-match award for his performance which invited praise from all quarters for the quality of the strokes and the composure of the innings. After an uncertain start, he hit two consecutive sixes off Murali Karthik and the commentators termed him "a talented individual with great prospects". With that half-century, he became the youngest player to score a half-century in an IPL match. He achieved this feat at an age of 18 years and 169 days breaking the previous record set in 2008 by Shreevats Goswami of Royal Challengers Bangalore who achieved the feat at the age of 19 years 1 day.
Sanju continued his good run in his third IPL match Kolkata Knight Riders vs Rajasthan Royals at the Eden Gardens. He scored a well-constructed 40 off 36 Balls. He had a 44 run partnership with Shane Watson and 34 run partnership with Owais Shah. In the slow pitch of Eden Gardens these partnerships were crucial in the Rajasthan Royals scorecard. However, Kolkata Knight Riders went on to win the match by 8 wickets.
On 5 May 2013, Sanju won the 'Naya soch' award in his 4th IPL match for Rajasthan Royals against Pune Warriors . He came in at a tense situation and made a useful contribution to the 25 run partnership with Stuart Binny in 2.1 overs propelling Royals to yet another win.
Sanju, now in the radar of cricket pundits and cricket lovers, displayed his mettle yet again in the match Kings XI Punjab vs Rajasthan Royals on 9 May 2013. He smashed a beautifully constructed 47 runs off 33 balls conjuring a 76 runs partnership with Ajinkya Rahane off 9.2 overs and scored the winning run. He won the 'Naya Soch' Award for the good performance.The boundary he scored off Parvinder Awana to the third man boundary stood out in his innings.
In the tense eliminator match between Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad on 22 May 2013, Sanju came in to bat at No.6 position. Rajasthan Royals, chasing 133 runs to win, were facing a precarious situation at 5/57 off 10 overs needing 96 runs off 10 overs on the low-scoring pitch of Feroz Shah Kotla Ground. Sanju held one end while Brad Hodge's swashbuckling innings of 54 runs off 47 deliveries ensured Rajasthan Royals win in 19.2 overs.Though Sanju scored only 10 runs off 29 deliveries, he shared a 45 run partnership with Brad Hodge which was crucial in the context of the low-scoring match.
In the 2nd Qualifier match of IPL 2013 Sanju failed to click as he scored a duck from 4 deliveries getting out off the bowling of Lasith Malinga.
Rajasthan Royals were placed No. 3 in the IPL 2013 and qualified for the Champions League Twenty20 competition to be held in India in 2013.
Sanju won the best young player award in IPL 2013 through a poll conducted in the official IPL website.
Before the IPL 2014 season, the Rajasthan Royals retained Sanju. He was one of the most consistent performers of the team where he emerged as one of the top run getters for the team. But his performance wasn't enough as Rajasthan Royals lost its final league match against Mumbai Indians in a thrilling match. Sanju Samson himself was the top scorer for Rajasthan in that match with a score of 74.
For the 2015 IPL season, Rajasthan Royals performed well in the league making it to the knockout matches. But Sanju Samson couldn't bring justice to his cause as he recorded only one 50 plus scores in the 15 matches he played. The score came against Mumbai Indians in a losing cause where he scored 76 runs off 46 balls and almost won them the game.
In 2016, the IPL Franchise Delhi Daredevils have signed him for a fee of 4.2 crores, in the IPL auction.
Sanju scored his maiden T20 century in IPL 2017 against Rising Pune Supergiant on 11th Apr 2017 at Maharastra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune. He scored 102 off 63 balls and his innings had 8 boundaries and 5 sixes. He was also the second youngest player to score an IPL century after Manish Pandey
Sanju's good form continued in the 2013 Champions League Twenty20. He scored 192 runs in 6 matches including 3 half centuries with an average of 39 runs at a strike rate of 127. He had a great tournament hitting 22 fours and 5 sixes along with 5 catches and a stumping.
Sanju made his CLT20 debut against the Mumbai Indians on 21 September 2013. He took the catches of Mumbai's Big 3 - Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard. He came in at No. 3 and scored 54 off 47 balls with 8 fours. He became the youngest player to score a half century in the CLT20. The Royals went on to win the match.
In the second match against the Highveld Lions he was dismissed for 12. In the next match against the Perth Scorchers he showed his class by scoring another half century off 42 balls with 6 fours and a six. He remained not out. But in the next match against the Otago Volts, Sanju got out for just 5 runs.
In the semifinal against Chennai Super Kings, Sanju only made 11 from 10 balls. However, he was instrumental in the run out of Murali Vijay which paved the way for the team's win.
In the final against the Mumbai Indians, Sanju made a blistering 60 off just 33 balls with 4 fours and 4 massive sixes at a strike rate of 182. His innings of 60 runs out of 33 balls was his highest score in his CLT20 Career. However, the team lost its way after his dismissal and went on to lose the match.
Sanju, who scored 192 runs in 6 matches, was the 6th highest run scorer of the tournament.
Sanju had a grand start to the Ranji Trophy 2013-14. In the first match at Guwahati, Assam put 323 on the board. Sanju scored a career-best 211 to give Kerala a vital 39-run lead. He hit 23 fours and 5 sixes to bring up his first double century in Ranji Trophy. Sanju continued his terrific form in the second match against Andhra Pradesh at Thalassery where he scored 115 from 281 balls with 12 fours and 2 sixes to help Kerala post a mammoth total of 486 in the 1st innings. In the second innings, he scored another 51 not out off 73 balls: 10 fours and a six.
He was the highest scorer of Ranji Trophy 2013-14 after the second round of matches with 377 runs off 2 matches at an average of 188.5. In all, he played six matches (11 innings) and ended up as Kerala's highest run getter, scoring 530 runs at an average of 58.88.
Sanju finished as India A's highest run-scorer with 244 runs from seven innings with two fifties with an average of 81.33. He was dismissed just thrice. Sanju had dropped down to No. 6 and also kept wicket in all games. He was also applauded by Indian coach Abhay Sharma for his temperament and batting technique, calling him 'the future for India'
On 5 August 2014, Sanju was selected to the 17-man squad to play against England in 5 ODIs and a Twenty20. However, he did not make it to the final team on any of the matches and remained a backup keeper to MS Dhoni.He made his international debut against Zimbabwe cricket team