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India's newest prodigy

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Washington_Sundar_India_CricketIn IPL 2017, the 1st playoff match between Rising Pune Supergiant and Mumbai Indians was balanced at a crucial point. Chasing 163, Mumbai Indians were batting steadily with 41 for 1 on the scoreboard by the end of 5th over. Smith decided to go with Washington Sundar- a lanky, novice off-spinner for last over of the power play. 

Playing in his 1st playoff match, Washington Sundar rose to the occasion. He took the wicket of Rohit Sharma on the 1st ball and dismissed Ambati Rayudu, 3 balls later, making it 2 wickets in an over. He didn’t stop there. In his next over he dismissed dangerous Kieron Pollard. The score was suddenly 51 for 3 by the end of 8th over. This was the peak of Washington Sunder’s performance in IPL 2017. Brought in as a replacement for R Ashwin, he justified his selection as a replacement for India’s ace spinner. He was the 3rd youngest debutant in IPL history. 

 

3 months later, Washington Sundar is again making a name for himself, but this time with the bat. Sundar, a 17-year-old, leads the run charts so far in the Tamil Nadu Premier League. In the 2nd edition of TNPL, Sundar is playing for the Tuti Patriots. The Patriots have won all their 6 matches and are on top of the points table. The key reason for their success is the dazzling performance of Washington Sundar. 

 

Sundar has opened the innings in all 6 matches so far. From these, he has scored 361 runs with a high score of 107 and 2 half centuries. His attacking batting came as a surprise as he was always considered a technically correct player who preferred to play traditional shots. He has hit 37 boundaries and 12 sixes so far in the tournament. In addition to this, he is currently the 2nd highest wicket taker in the tournament with 11 wickets from 5 matches.

He started this sublime run of form a year ago when he was a part of the India Under-19 World Cup side. Sundar was the youngest player in the squad. His consistent performances in the domestic Under-19 tournament and his all-round abilities earned him a call-up. In the World Cup final, while defending a paltry total of 146, Sundar bowled the most economical spell of 9-1-18-0, bringing India close to victory. 

He had made an impact earlier in a tri series where he emerged the highest run scorer with 208 runs in 4 matches against England and Sri Lanka. He scored 3 half centuries in those 4 matches.

Washington Sundar had worked very hard to make it to India Under-19 team at the age of 16. His ability in cricket might have come to him from his father, a former Tamil Nadu cricketer who has been the guiding light for the youngster. When Washington Sundar was 13, his father enrolled him in the prestigious MRF Pace Foundation. Sundar batted confidently against all the pace bowlers and caught the attention of M Senthilnathan, the foundation’s Chief Coach.  Senthilnathan also happened to be a coach of a Globe Trotters team which plays in 1st division tournaments in Tamil Nadu. Impressed by Sundar’s batting, he took a bold and risky decision of playing Washington Sundar in Globe Trotters team for 1st division matches.

 

Since then, Sundar has reached new heights every season. At the age of 13, he received TNCA's best school cricketer award. His game improved after he started playing in TNCA league. After making plenty of runs, he got selected in Tamil Nadu squad for the Buchi Babu invitational tournament last year. Representing the TNCA XI this year in the Buchi Babu tournament, he scored 108 against Himachal Pradesh.

 

Washington made his debut for Tamil Nadu in Ranji trophy last year though he could only play in 5 matches. A good performance in one domestic season should take him closer to the doorstep of the Indian team. In the last year, he has practiced under the watchful eyes of Rahul Dravid and has also played with MS Dhoni during his IPL tenure. 

He has made huge improvements in his game in quite a short time. So far he has single handily taken Tuti Patriots to the top of the table. Given the consistency he has shown, it is quite clear that India has a prodigy on their hands with the ability to make a big name for himself while playing for Indian cricket team.

 

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