The year has ended on a fitting note for Washington Sundar as the teenage sensation has been rewarded for his consistent displays with a maiden call-up from the national team for the upcoming three-match T20 International series against Sri Lanka.
The allrounder shot to limelight with his stunning displays in the Indian Premier League where he was roped in by Rising Pune Supergiant to fill in the huge void left by an injured Ravichandran Ashwin. The Tamil Nadu starlet, however, justified his selection as he took 11 wickets in nine games at an average of 12 and an impressive economy rate of only 5.54. He also impressed in this year’s Duleep Trophy, picking up 11 wickets and scoring a fifty in a match and continued the same form in the ongoing Ranji Trophy, where he has scored 315 runs so including the 159-run knock against Tripura which was his maiden first-class ton in addition to picking up 12 wickets.
But his hopes of making it to the Indian team was dealt a huge blow when he failed to clear the Yo Yo test in his first attempt. Reports suggested that he was in line to be included in the squad for the T20I series against Australia but could not make it because of failing the mandatory fitness test. However, he cleared the test last week and soon received his maiden call-up.
Delighted with the developments, Washington said he is ‘very, very happy’ and explained he did not do anything different to clear the Yo Yo Test in his second attempt.
“I feel very, very happy,” Washington told Cricbuzz. “One of my dad’s friends informed (about the selection). I didn’t know actually, I didn’t see the news and someone called and told me.
“More than me, my parents are really happy because any parent would want their son to go places in his life. Obviously at this stage if I’m able to reach the top playing for India, they would be really happy.
“I kind of had it at the back of my mind that I might be called up, I had that belief,” he said. “I didn’t really do anything different. I had just been working harder on my conditioning. After I failed, I went back and I just wanted to work even harder on this aspect especially and cleared it couple of days back,” he added.
Meanwhile, Washington has already had a taste of what to expect against international teams. He had recently played for Board President’s XI against Australia that had the likes of David Warner, Steven Smith and Glenn Maxwell.
Sharing his experience, he said: “They are all greats of the game. For an off-spinner it’s a challenge to bowl against players Smith and Maxwell who want to play their shots. It was a challenge for me but I think the game went well for me and I gained some experience from whatever I bowled in that game.”
Washington also thanked his IPL captain Steve Smith for showing the faith in him in his debut season, saying he owes a lot to the skipper and the Pune team management.
“Not many captains would play an off-spinner for 11 consecutive games,” Washington remarked. “We have seen very few captains do that in the IPL level. He has shown a lot of belief in me. He threw the ball to me in the first six overs a lot of times. I’m very lucky and thankful to him and the management. Getting an opportunity at such a big stage at this level I really owe a lot to the management and the captain.”
The youngster also made it clear that he is not going to get carried away after being selected into the Indian team at such an early age.
“So far in my life, I haven’t had any goals or aims,” he said. “I’m just preparing, working hard, trusting my preparation and enjoying every time I step into the field. I think I want to do the same even now because I got a call-up at such a young age. I don’t want to do anything different now, I just want to stick to the things I’ve been doing from the time I started playing cricket. I will just enjoy the game and trust my preparation.
“I just want to bowl and perform well and win a game for my country. That would be my utmost aim,” he added.
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