Washington Sundar, who bats left-handed and bowls right-arm off- spin, became the talk of the town when he replaced injured India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin in Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) squad in IPL 2017. Ever since his stint in IPL with the leading cricketers such as MS Dhoni, Steve Smith and Ben Stokes, Sundar hasn’t looked back, putting up notable performances in the limited opportunities that he got.
In his recent interview with The Hindu, Sundar attributed a lot of his success to the cricket-crazy city of Chennai where he grew up.
“Being streetsmart is almost inbuilt in the city’s youngsters, probably because of their varied experiences on different fields. I personally didn’t get to play a lot of street cricket, but I did pick up a lot from the many professional cricket matches I played here,” he quoted.
Recalling his early cricketing days, Sundar said: “I loved the game. I never wanted to rest. After I finished my batting session, I’d be raring and ready to bowl or field.”
It was this passion that helped Washington climb the ladders as he got the chance to share the dressing room with international stars in IPL.
“When you look back, it has already been more than a decade of IPL. So many players who have played for the league have gone on to play for the country. The league has honestly changed the lives of many cricketers, including me. I got to play for India because of that,” he asserted.
While Brian Lara and Yuvraj Singh were his role models growing up, Washington got influenced by Dhoni, under whom he played in IPL two years back.
“He (Dhoni) has been very encouraging. Even at times when things are not going well for me, he keeps telling me to keep my cool. If you listen to Dhoni, half your job is done,” Sundar remarked.
After his awe-inspiring show in IPL 2017, Washington was handed the India cap later that year against Sri Lanka at home. Subsequently, he represented the country in the Nidahas Trophy and played a pivotal role in India winning the tournament in the absence of their bowling mainstays.
Washington’s rise in cricket has been the stuff of dreams, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of his family. His sister is also a cricket fanatic and has played the game extensively.
“She loves cricket more than anything else,” he said.
When asked if he follows women’s cricket, Sundar said, “Yes, things have been looking up on that front as well. We are looking at an exclusive IPL for women soon.”