Chennai: Picked as a replacement for injured Ravichandran Ashwin in Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS), all-rounder Washington Sundar says he is gearing up to fill in the big boots of the “legend” whenever he gets a chance to play. Sundar, who bats left-handed and bowls right-arm off-spin, was picked following a trial by the franchise a few days ago after Ashwin was ruled out of IPL-10 to help him recover from a sports hernia. “I am very happy to be picked to replace Ashwin, who is a legend. I’m also excited to get the opportunity to be part of the IPL. I don’t have any expectations going into the tournament. I will have to be ready if I get a chance to play,” Sundar told PTI.
The 17-year-old Sundar, a top-order batsman, began bowling more on the advice of Indian Under-19 coach Rahul Dravid and played a key role in his state team, Tamil Nadu’s Vijay Hazare Trophy and Deodhar Trophy victories this season. Sundar, who was picked over experienced Jammu & Kashmir all-rounder Parvez Rasool in the trials, said he had a chance to bowl at various batsmen in the nets including RPS captain Steve Smith, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and IPL’s highest paid foreign player Ben Stokes. Having dismissed Smith in the nets, Sundar said: “It felt good to dismiss Smith and keep things tidy against the aggressive Stokes.
“I bowled to Dhoni for a long time in the nets. He gave me some tips and appreciated me on occasions.” Sundar is looking forward to linking up with the RPS spin unit that includes Imran Tahir, Adam Zampa, Ankit Sharma and state-mate Baba Aparajith.
Sundar, who was a key member of the Indian team that reached the Under-19 World Cup final in Bangladesh last year, said Tamil Nadu coach Hrishikesh Kanitkar, also one of the assistant coaches with the RPS outfit, had a calming influence on him and the squad.
“Kanitkar sir is very calm and supportive and has played a big role in Tamil Nadu’s performances in the 2016-17 season. The bowling and fielding have been crucial to the success while Dinesh Karthik was the standout performer with the bat,” said Sundar.