The 21-year-old had started his playing career as a top-order batsman. But with time, moulded himself into an off-spinner who could bat.
Sundar wants to take inspiration from head coach Ravi Shastri, who had started his career as a specialist spinner, but gradually raised his game to become a Test opener.
“I think it will be a blessing for me if I ever get an opportunity to open the batting for India in Tests. I think I will accept the challenge just like our coach Ravi sir did during his playing days,” Washington Sundar said.
Washington Sundar showed his prowess with the bat in his debut Test against Australia in Brisbane, scoring a brilliant 62 in the first innings and a quickfire 22 in the second.
The youngster revealed that Ravi Shastri had inspired him by sharing experiences about his Test debut against New Zealand, where he picked up four wickets and batted as low as No.10. Sundar said in this regard:
“Ravi sir tells us very inspiring stories from his playing days. Like how he made his debut as a specialist spinner, got four wickets, and batted at number 10 against New Zealand on debut. And how from there, he became a Test opener and played all those great fast bowlers.”
— Washington Sundar (@Sundarwashi5) January 17, 2021
Washington Sundar also stated that he was well aware about the conditions in Australia, and had to adapt his game accordingly.
Instead of being slower through the air, the 21-year-old focused on applying overspin to the ball. This would extract pace and bounce from the surface and make picking the trajectory of the ball a little bit difficult for batsmen.
“Since the Australian pitches have a lot more pace and bounce, I had to impart a lot of overspin on my deliveries. That gets you more pace off the wicket and that’s what I concentrated on,” Washington Sundar said.
There were a few eyebrows raised when Sundar was selected ahead of Kuldeep Yadav as Team India’s lone spinner for the fourth Test at the Gabba.
However, Sundar justified his selection by picking up four wickets in the game. Bagging Steve Smith as his first Test wicket was the icing on the cake for the youngster.
“Obviously, on the first day in Brisbane, the pitch wasn’t doing a lot for spinners. But it was like a dream come true to get Steve Smith as my first Test wicket,” he further added.
A celebration so shy, so self-effaced and so unassuming. When @Sundarwashi5 Washington Sundar claimed Steve Smith’s wicket in the first inning at Gabba, he almost said sorry to Smith! Speaks volumes of the 21-year-old boy’s personality!#AUSvsIND #IndiavsAustralia #spinner pic.twitter.com/7CUgQVVuRd
— SP Kalantri (@spkalantri) January 18, 2021
Washington Sundar’s crucial contributions with both bat and ball helped Team India end Australia’s 32-year dominance at the Gabba, and win the 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2-1.
— Washington Sundar (@Sundarwashi5) January 20, 2021
The all-rounder has been rewarded for his performances with a place in Team India’s squad for the first two Tests against England at home.
Sundar will be hopeful of making the most of every opportunity that comes his way.