Mohali, Dec 12: Despite failing the Yo-Yo test, a requisite to make it to the national squad, teenaged all-rounder Washington Sundar on Tuesday justified his selection in the ODI squad against Sri Lanka, saying he trusts his ability and understands his role in the team.
The 18-year-old Sundar attracted attention with his performances in the Indian Premier League (IPL), helping the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Rising Pune Supergiant reach the final.
But despite that, it was not enough for a national call-up and the Tamil Nadu all-rounder said he worked harder on all aspects of his game to earn his place.
“For any cricketer, playing for India is the ultimate dream. As an 18-year-old, I have got the opportunity to play for India and it is a great feeling. I trust a lot in my preparation and it has paid off,” Sundar told reporters during the pre-match conference here.
“I went back, prepared a lot, trained a lot on aspects, where I needed to. It paid off. I started bowling more and spent extra time on my batting. And fitness also as you know it has become a very important aspect of this Indian team.”
Commenting on his potential role in the team, Sundar, who made his first-class debut last year before playing his first List A game this March, said he has to perform both with bat and ball whenever he gets an opportunity.
“I would definitely have to be ready to bowl 10 overs of off-spin and contribute with the bat no matter what position the team is in.”
The youngster, who is only four days old in the Indian dressing room after being named a last-minute replacement for injured Kedar Jadhav, said he already felt like home.
“It has been my fourth day to be precise but I do not feel that I just became part of the team. I knew a lot of players before, have played with Mahi bhai (Dhoni) in the IPL. They all made me feel at home,” he said.
Asked about the Dharamsala wicket where the Indian batsmen barring Dhoni failed against the moving ball, Sundar said: “You do see a lot of wickets like that. In a domestic season, you get to play two games on tracks similar to Dharamsala.”
Sundar also hailed Dhoni’s patient half-century which bailed India out from a precarious 29/7 to reach 112 in the first match.
“The way Mahi bhai batted was great, he went on the counter-attack. Another 60-70 runs would have made a lot of difference,” he concluded.
India is currently 0-1 down in the three-match ODI rubber and faces a must-win situation heading to the second game at the Punjab Cricket Association I.S. Bindra Stadium here on Wednesday.