Cricket

Belief holds the key to Washington’s success

Washington Sundar was first spotted by M. Senthilnathan and turned out for Globe Trotters, where the latter is coach, when just 13. Photo: S.R. Raghunathan  

A picture with M. Senthilnathan marked a rather special moment for Washington Sundar. After all, the 17-year-old cricketer was with someone who captained India in the first under-19 World Cup, in Australia, 1988.

Having been named in the Indian side for the forthcoming under-19 World Cup, beginning in Bangladesh on January 27, 2016, Washington did not have to look far to gain first hand knowledge about a competition that is often a stepping stone for bigger things.

A left-handed top-order batsman and an off-spinner, Washington was first spotted by Senthilnathan.

In fact, he turned out for Globe Trotters, where Senthilnathan is coach, when just 13.

“He was so young, but even then he had so much time to play.

“There were many who questioned my wisdom when I fielded him straightway in the eleven for the club in the TNCA first division league. He has not disappointed me,” said Senthilnathan to The Hindu here on Wednesday.

Washington told this newspaper, “There have been times when I have not made runs or taken wickets.

“I would be in tears, but a chat with Senthil Sir and I would be smiling again.”

Standing at 6’1”, Washington presents an elegant picture at the crease with his high-back lift and range of shots.

“He can cut and pull, essay the straight or cover drives and play the flick. Ask him about his favourite shot and Washington replies, “Hitting straight down the ground.”

He has been in fine form in recent days, donning a key role as India emerged triumphant in two tri-nation one-day tournaments, in Kolkata and Colombo.

“The half century against Bangladesh in Kolkata was a crucial innings on a trying pitch. I had come in at No. 6 and the side was in trouble having lost four wickets for just over a hundred,” said Washington.

When the ball seamed around at Colombo’s Premadasa Stadium, Washington’s 77 as opener against Sri Lanka was a match-winning effort too.

“The conditions were new for me. The ball was doing a bit, but I was focussed,” he said.

In the final, Washington’s 56 at the expense of the Sri Lankan attack settled the issue in India’s favour.

“After W.V. Raman, I have not seen many players hitting sixes from within the crease. Raman used to call it an extension of his defence. Washington can do that, stroke the ball over long-off, long-on or down the ground,” said Senthilnathan.

An athletic fielder and a useful off-spinner, Washington has chipped in with the ball as well for India under-19. Senthilnathan said, “He is tall, delivers from top, gets bounce and keeps it there.”

A class 12 student in St. Bede’s, Washington is thankful to the TNCA for its support.

And India under-19 coach Rahul Dravid has made a huge impact on him. “There is no boring moment when he talks to us. There is so much insight and positivity in what he says,” he said.

Washington believed India would triumph in the under-19 World Cup.

“We have been unbeaten since the last two tournaments. We are very confident.”

Belief holds the key to success.

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Printable version | Apr 14, 2021 6:05:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/belief-holds-the-key-to-washingtons-success/article8022423.ece

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