Teenage sensation Washington Sundar added yet another feather to his impressive hat by bagging the Young Achiever Award given by the Rotary Club of Madras Chenna Patna during their 25th anniversary on Thursday (February 1).
The Tamil Nadu star has not looked back since being roped in by Rising Pune Supergiant as a replacement for injured Ravichandran Ashwin in last year’s Indian Premier League. At just 17, he made his IPL debut and went on to justify the bold decision made by the franchise.
He took eight wickets including the outstanding spell of three for 16 in the first qualifier against Mumbai Indians. What was even more impressive was that his economy-rate was just a shade over six despite bowling in the powerplay overs. He continued his impressive show in the domestic arena too.
He picked up 11 wickets and scored a fifty in the Duleep Trophy final and extended 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.
His consistent performances helped him get his maiden India call-up for the Sri Lanka series at the age of just 18 and went on to make his ODI and T20I debut. The new year also started on a stunning note for him, as he bagged a lucrative contract in the recently-concluded IPL auction. Two-time finalists Royal Challengers Bangalore bought him for INR 3.3 crore.
And his new year became only better as he was felicitated by the prestigious Rotary Club of Madras Chenna Patna. While receiving the award, the 18-year old became emotional, as he thanked his closed ones who have helped him progress in his life.
“People around me have been great and always wanted me to do well. I have a lot of people to thank as they have supported me in each phase of my life,” said an emotional Washington, before adding, “Mohammed Asif Ali sir has been very generous in offering the Amir Mahal grounds for practice during my formative years. He has gone out of the way to ensure I received top-notch practice facilities at the ground. The inputs and constant support provided by Venkatramana sir have helped me become a better cricketer.”
Former India off-spinner Venkataramana believes Washington’s real test will be to stay grounded in the coming years.
“Washington’s biggest strength lies in his self-belief. He is never overawed by the batsman’s credentials and backs his abilities. It is this quality that has helped him go places. All he has to do now is to continue working hard and stay grounded,” he said.
Washington further spoke on how playing extensively has not allowed him to spend good time with his parents and elder sister in the last few years.
“I have not spent a lot of time with my family, but they have been amazing especially my elder sister Shailaja. It is difficult to describe in words the encouragement they have given me,” said Washington.
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