All-rounder Washington Sundar, considered one of the most talented players on the circuit, has had multiple injury and fitness related issues over the past six years. Queue | Photo Credit: EMMANUAL YOGINI
Washington Sundar will be itching to prove his long form fitness level after a gap of nearly six months as he takes to the field for South Zone in the Duleep Trophy semifinal against North Zone starting in Bengaluru on Wednesday.
While North demolished North East Zone by 511 runs in quarter-final, the South gained direct entry into the last-eight stage based on their performance in the previous edition.
The match will be important for some of the current and future India hopefuls and Washington is the most notable among them.
The 23-year-old lanky Tamil Nadu all-rounder, considered one of the most talented players on the circuit, has had multiple injury and fitness related issues over the past six years, restricting his international appearances to only 55 matches — 4 Tests, 16 ODIs and 35 T20Is.
His most recent injury was a hamstring tear suffered during the first half of the IPL and he made a comeback in the Tamil Nadu Premier League after that.
However, come Wednesday, ‘Washy’, as he is basically known in Indian cricket circles, will like to see how his body is holding up while playing four-day cricket.
The question is will he be able to bowl 25 overs in an innings or bat for a day in order to prove that he is ready to be reconsidered for the national team, with multiple ODIs and T20Is lined up after the West Indies Tour.
In white ball cricket, India are still searching for a quality off-spinner and Washington was supposed to be the answer before a spate of injuries derailed him.
Three national selectors are currently in Bengaluru (Salil Ankola is supposed to track the national team in the West Indies) for the two semi-finals and they will certainly watch the off-spinner and the left-handed batter’s performance and fitness with a lot of interest .
The other name that would generate a lot of interest is left-handed batter Sai Sudharshan, whose silken strokes during the IPL had caught the imagination of the fans and is being considered a serious future India prospect.
In the North Zone side, there are battle-hardened veterans such as Dhruv Shorey and Jayant Yadav but two youngsters who would be closely watched are Punjab batter Prabhsimran Singh and Delhi’s pace-bowling all-rounder Harshit Rana, who made a hundred on his Duleep Debut trophy.
The match against a weak North East side hardly served as a pointer to how the Chinnaswamy track behaved but a battle between two sides, stacked up with quality domestic talent, will provide a better idea of the conditions.