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An Interview with Washington Sundar

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Washington_Sundar_India_CricketThe Indian Premier League silverware eluded the Royal Challengers Bangalore once again. Despite boasting one of the more balanced sides in the tournament’s eleventh edition, RCB failed to make it to the playoffs.

They might not have a trophy in their cabinet, but each year for over ten years, loyal fans turn up in large numbers to support their team at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. Team India all-rounder Washington Sundar, on whom RCB spent Rs. 3.2 crore this year, hopes that fans will keep supporting them with as much enthusiasm in the coming seasons too.

“The support we were getting this year was unbelievable, especially at our home ground Chinnaswamy Stadium, where all the games saw a full-house. It was great to be playing in front of such amazing home support coming in plenty. RCB fans have always been great to the team over the years. I hope they will keep supporting us and we will definitely give them a lot of things to cherish,” the 19-year-old told HoldingWilley.

Halfway through the tournament, Virat Kohli’s RCB had five losses in seven games, but made a remarkable comeback in the second half of the group stage, winning back to back games. They created a chance for themselves, but lost to Rajasthan Royals in their final league game, which was a must-win.

Recalling that bitter loss, Sundar said, “Losing to Rajasthan Royals was very disappointing, because a win would have meant berth in the playoffs. We had an excellent opportunity to qualify but well, it happens!”

Yuzvendra Chahal was Kohli’s go-to spinner in the RCB squad. Sundar, on the other hand, played only 7 games, from which he scored 65 runs and took four wickets at an economy of almost 10. However, Sundar doesn’t feel any competition from Chahal, both in the RCB and Indian team. Instead, he considered Chahal as someone he can walk up to with queries.

“I am more concerned about myself and my personal performances, which is why I don’t see Yuzi as my competitor. In fact he is someone I can share and discuss things with. If we hunt together as a pair, it will only benefit the team.”

IPL 2017 and 2018 came under the scanner for poor umpiring decisions, some of which, fans argued, were unacceptable in a tournament as high-profile as this. Of the many howlers this season, the biggest one saw seven balls being bowled in an over instead of six. In one of the RCB games, Kohli was left fuming at an unfair umpiring decision which gave Mumbai Indians’ Hardik Pandya an extended life in the penultimate over of the first innings. However, speaking in support of the umpires, Sundar said that to err is human.

“Umpires are humans too. Being decision makers does not mean they are machines which can be accurate all the time. Everyone makes mistakes, in any sport or specialisation. Umpiring howlers are common, and instead of putting pressure on the umpires, we should be kind to them and support them.”

Sundar’s introverted nature has been visible on the screen – he is almost expressionless after taking a wicket, and rarely wishes to be in the spotlight. However, off the field, he gets along with his teammates very well.

“When I am with a few good friends [teammates], I am a jovial person. I love spending time with them and do not appear an introvert at all,” Sundar said.

The youngster’s international career has been smooth so far, as he has delivered in every opportunity thrown his way. Subsequently, he has been named in both the ODI and T20I squads to tour England a couple of weeks from now. Sundar is eagerly looking forward to the all-important tour, and is hoping to repay the faith of the national selectors again.

“Few pitches in England can be [a] little dry and slow so it will be a good opportunity for me to strike with the ball on those pitches. England is such a good place to play cricket. The Home of Cricket, Lord’s, is also in England. I’m really looking forward to playing there.”

The Tamil Nadu all-rounder, who rose to prominence with his impeccable performances in the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL), has played under the leadership of three captains – Virat Kohli in RCB, Steve Smith in Rising Pune Supergiants and Rohit Sharma in the Nidahas Trophy. When asked to highlight the best captaincy trait of all the three skippers, Sundar said, “Rohit Sharma has plenty of tactics up his sleeves, and uses them to perfection. He is always cool as well and rarely feels the pressure. Steve Smith is encouraging and gives all the confidence you want, while Kohli brings amazing energy into the field. His energy and passion is infectious, it spreads in the whole team, especially bowlers, which gives us an extra edge to perform well.”

 

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