Washington all of talent and composure

He is God’s child; a different, thinking cricketer who plays his own way, says his father

Washington Sundar not just has the sense of timing but knows when to time his performances.

He has the languid left-hander’s elegance where he picks the length early and plays the ball late. His footwork complements his balance.

Knife edge

The match was on a knife edge when the debutant joined the heroic Rishabh Pant. At stake was India’s greatest Test moment and breaking through the wall at the ’Gabba, Australia’s bastion for 32 years.

’Gabba was a cauldron when the 21-year-old Washington, all composure under pressure, took guard. Australia seemed to be gaining back momentum.

There appeared to be no pressure though when he gloriously off-drove Pat Cummins, Australia’s finest bowler, through mid-off to the boundary.

His best was yet to come. When Cummins pitched short testing him, Washington, light on his feet, swivelled around and was airborne as he hooked the paceman for a rousing six.

Then, he steered Cummins for another boundary and Australia was feeling the heat again.

Pant and Washington pounded the Australian attack for a Test series-clinching rip-roaring 53-run partnership. His 22 was worth a million as his teammates and support staff gave Washington a standing ovation as he walked back.

His 62 in the first innings kept India in the game and he picked four wickets on his debut with off-spin of control and subtle variations.

Speaking to The Hindu, Washington’s sister Shailaja, a cricketer herself, said, “I remember him telling me, ‘Each time you go out to practise, you must improve by one per cent. He hits the ground running during training,” she said.

Shailaja observed, “If you watch him play, he makes cricket look easy. But behind it are countless hours at the nets.”

High standard

Sundar, a hard taskmaster, sets the bar very high for Washington. “He is God’s child. He has so much ability. I am extremely happy today. He is a different, thinking cricketer. He plays his own way.”

In a team effort as India gunned down Australia at the ’Gabba, Washington has played a key part. What a debut!

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