Washington Sundar, whose predominant role is that of an off-spinner, will readily accept the opportunity, if presented, to bat at the top for India. Sundar, who is riding high on confidence after an impressive Test debut in Brisbane against Australia, indeed started his cricket career as an opening batsman in his under-19 days.
However, like his India and Tamil Nadu teammate Ravichandran Ashwin, Sundar developed his off-spin and is now a regular feature of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and India’s T20 team. The 21-year-old looks up to head coach, Ravi Shastri for inspiration to become an all-rounder after starting as a bowler.
Shastri, who also was picked as an off-spinner in India’s team later went to become one of the finest openers and all-rounders of the country.
“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 told PTI.
“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. I would love to open batting in Tests like him,” Sundar added.
It was like dream come true to get Steve Smith as my first Test wicket: Washington Sundar
After injuries to Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in Sydney, Washington Sundar was given a Test debut for India in the Brisbane Test – he was selected over Kuldeep Yadav, who was already in the squad, for his superior batting skills over the chinaman.
Despite not much help for spinners from the pitch on Day 1 at the Gabba, after bowling three maidens on a trot, Sundar dismissed Steve Smith – who not long ago was the number 1 ICC Test batsman – as his maiden Test wicket and broke the partnership between Smith and Marnus Labuchagne.
“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,” the off-spinner said.
Apart from picking 4 wickets, he scored a crucial 62 in India’s first innings and was involved in an inspiring partnership with Shardul Thakur keeping the visitors in the game; in the second innings, the left-hander released the pressure from Rishabh Pant by scoring 22 runs with alacrity.