"For any cricketer, playing for India is the ultimate dream. As an 18-year-old, I have got the opportunity to play for India and it is a great feeling. I trust a lot in my preparation and it has paid off," said 18 year old Washington Sundar, who not so long ago, had flunked the mandatory yo-yo test, necessary for making it into the Indian team.
However, after lots of work on his fitness and form, Sundar finds himself on cusp of realizing his dream of playing for India, after making it to the T20I squad and then, in the ODI squad against Sri Lanka, in place of Kedar Jadhav.
"It has been my fourth day to be precise but I do not feel that I just became part of the team. I knew lot of players before, have played with Mahi bhai (Dhoni) in the IPL. They all made me feel at home," said Sundar ahead of the second ODI against Sri Lanka here on Tuesday.
Sundar captured the imagination of cricket experts and fans all over India, as he shouldered the responsibility of a frontline spinner for Pune Supergiant team in IPL 2017, in absence of R Ashwin and took the team to the finals with his performances.
He then took the opposition apart with both bat and ball in the TNPL 2017 and recently for Tamil Nadu in the Ranji Trophy.
"I went back, prepared a lot, trained a lot on aspects, where I needed to. It paid off. I started bowling more and spent extra time on my batting. And fitness also as you know it has become a very important aspect of this Indian team," said the Tamil Nadu all-rounder, who made his first-class debut last year.
Talking about his role in Team India, if given a chance, Sundar said, "I would definitely have to be ready to bowl 10 overs of off spin and contribute with the bat no matter what position the team is in."
Washington Sundar was all praises for MS Dhoni, whose knock of 65 took India above the score of 100 runs in the first ODI at Dharamsala against Sri Lanka, when Suranga Lakmal’s 4/13 reduced India to 29/7.
Sundar said, "You do see a lot of wickets like that. In a domestic season, you get to play two games on tracks similar to Dharamsala. The way Mahi bhai batted was great, he went on the counter attack. Another 60-70 runs would have made a lot of difference."
(With inputs from PTI)