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Tuesday, Sep 17, 2019

Washington Sundar, youngest Twenty20 debutant continues rapid India rise

Washington Sundar became the youngest Twenty20 International debutant for India and his inclusion continued his rapid rise in the national side after making his ODI debut against Sri Lanka in Mohali.

cricket Updated: Dec 24, 2017 23:05 IST
Bihan Sengupta
Bihan Sengupta
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Washington Sundar had an impressive debut in Twenty20 Internationals as he picked up 1/22 in four overs against Sri Lanka at the Wankhede stadium.
Washington Sundar had an impressive debut in Twenty20 Internationals as he picked up 1/22 in four overs against Sri Lanka at the Wankhede stadium.(AFP)

A little over two years back, Washington Sundar struck a scintillating half-century to guide India under-19 to a five-wicket win over Sri Lanka in a Tri-series final. On Sunday, the teenager became India’s youngest T20 debutant against the same rivals, this time for his off-spin. (INDIA vs SRI LANKA 3rd TWENTY20 UPDATES)

Washington Sundar stands out for his height (around 6’2”), and for his name, given by his father, M Sundar, as tribute to his mentor. And the youngster is now rapidly following in the footsteps of senior Tamil Nadu teammate, R Ashwin. (INDIA vs SRI LANKA SCORECARD)

On Sunday, Washington Sundar made a mark aged just 18 years and 80 days. Rishabh Pant was the previous youngest to play T20 for India. However, he had caught the attention of cricket fans when he replaced an injured Ashwin at Rising Pune Supergiant in the 2017 IPL.

The glitzy league was perhaps the perfect platform for the then 17-year-old. Surmounting the pressure that comes while sharing the dressing room with senior internationals, Sundar featured in 11 matches, bowled 30 overs and took eight wickets at a decent economy of 6.16. It was his ability to frustrate the opposition with a tight line that earned him applause.

With the rapid strides wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal have made, the selectors have not picked Ravindra Jadeja or Ashwin since the West Indies tour in July. Sundar’s selection is part of their bid to improve the bench strength.

If IPL was a curtain-raiser, Sundar went on to pick 15 wickets in nine matches in the Tamil Nadu Premier League, again at an economy of 6.16. He emerged the second-highest wicket-taker with a staggering average of 12.73, following it up with a Man-of-the-Match performance in the Duleep Trophy final. Besides taking 11 wickets in the match, Sundar also scored 88 and 42.

That led to his inclusion in the India squad for the ODI series against Sri Lanka and he made his debut in the Mohali ODI in the absence of the injured Kedar Jadhav. At the Wankhede, he stuck to his line, having Kusal Perera caught and bowled before returning impressive figures of 4-0-22-1.

It is a long road ahead for the talented player, but his abilities with the bat and ball and already impressive efforts in both limited-overs cricket as well as first-class games should hold Washington Sundar in good stead.

First Published: Dec 24, 2017 23:02 IST