CHENNAI: Spin legend Muthiah Muralitharan was never dropped from the Sri Lanka squad in his illustrious career, but had to sit out a few games when playing for CSK. This shows the IPL is a different ballgame, where reputation is thrown out the window. What matters is suitability and team combinations.
In fact, at the start of IPL-10, England’s Joe Root complained on Twitter that Punjab were unfair to his national captain Eoin Morgan by not picking him in the playing XI. The tournament can be harsh on the psyche of a player.
When legends themselves are struggling, you can imagine troubles of youngsters hoping to make a mark. But one young lad who waited patiently and grabbed his opportunity was Tamil Nadu’s Washington Sundar.
Primarily a top-order batsman who can bowl gentle off-spin, Washington was drafted in as a stop-gap tweaker by Rising Pune Supergiant, and has held on to his spot due to his utility.
The Tuti Patriots player, with his fearless brand of cricket, can open the bowling and bowl effortlessly in the middle overs. “Washington has been brilliant, and has given a good account of himself, and I wish he continues in the same vein in the playoffs,” complimented S Sharath, chairman of the state selection committee.
“Washington is calm, sincere and committed. He observes well and plays according to team’s needs. He has the experience of playing for India at the junior level,” added Sharath.
Washington has bowled to the likes of Virat Kohli and Brendon McCullum in packed stadiums and showed no signs of nervousness.
“That shows his confidence. He doesn’t get rattled easily, and is mentally strong. In the TNPL, under Dinesh Karthik’s captaincy, he would’ve learned how to go about his job in the shortest format. TNPL was played at three venues, and the format, which is similar to IPL, would’ve given him a fair idea of how to play a lengthy tournament. Plus, he’s lucky to play alongside MS Dhoni and Steve Smith and learn from them,” opined Sharath, insisting that Washington would be considered as a spin option for TN alongside Malolan Rangarajan and Rahil Shah in the coming season.
The 17-year-old got to hone his T20 skills under former Ranji cricketer JR Madanagopal, who is chief coach at Patriots.
“Washington impressed me the first time we met. He showed lots of maturity for his age, and was sure about his abilities and understood what was required of him in a situation. When your mind is in sync with what the team requires, the job becomes easier. He played a key role in our win last year, and this season we expect him to do better with the exposure he has got,” observed Madanagopal.
Youngsters at times have a habit of trying too many things too early. Washington mentioned somewhere that he was trying to bowl the carrom ball, but former India cricketer M Venkatramana wants him to stick to basics.
“The IPL, and T20s, are not the place to experiment. I want Washington to stick to basics and not try something different. His strength is a consistent line, backed with good rhythm and subtle variations. He should stick to what he’s good at,” opined the former Indian off-spinner, who is a bowling coach at the TNCA Academy.
M W L NR PTS NRR
MI 14 10 4 0 20 +0.784
RPS 14 9 5 0 18 +0.176
SRH 14 8 5 1 17 +0.599
KKR 14 8 6 0 16 +0.641
KXIP 14 7 7 0 14 -0.009
DD 14 6 8 0 12 -0.512
GL 14 4 10 0 8 -0.412
RCB 14 3 10 1 7 -1.299