IPL 2020: ‘Playing under Mahi bhai helped me a lot,’ Washington Sundar reveals MS Dhoni’s contribution behind improved show

Washington Sundar has been at the forefront of RCB’s success this IPL season. Although he has not made headlines quite like his teammates AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli or Devdutt Padikkal, the off-spinner all-rounder has bowled phenomenally well. In the seven matches he’s played for RCB, Sundar may have picked up just five wickets, but here’s the big number. His economy rate has remained under five – 4.9 to be precise and the most he’s conceded in his four over 20.

While plenty of credit goes to his captain Virat Kohli for making Washington Sundar spinner bowl inside the Powerplay and stifle the scoring rate, the off-spinner credits his real success to former India and current Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni for his evolution as bowler. It was in 2017 that Sundar played under Dhoni for the Rising Pune Supergiant, picking up eight wickets from 11 matches, an experience that the off-spinner holds dear to him.

“The fact that I played in RPS under Mahi bhai helped me evolve as a cricketer and since then I have been learning and evolving as a bowler as well,” Sundar ahead of RCB’s match against Kings XI Punjab on Thursday.

As far as the technical aspects go, Sundar, who stands at six feet tall, revealed there are two things he’s concentrated on the most this season – the release of the ball and how to use his height to great advantage.

“Releasing the ball late is the key. If you follow the feet of a batsman, then you will get a slight hint about what he intends to do. And if you can pick up the hint, it’s going to help you do what he doesn’t want you to do. I am very conscious about releasing the ball as late as possible. That way I can react to what the batsman is doing,” Sundar said.

“It (height) is definitely a positive thing. If at that height I can used it properly with speed it will be an advantage and that’s what I have been trying to work on in the last couple of years. I have put in a lot of work knowing that my height will give me an advantage if I used that to the fullest. I have to keep the same rhythm going.”

Sundar informed he revels in the confidence shown by his skipper Kohli in him, and besides bowling, the 21-year-old is keen to excel with the bat. Not many are aware that Sundar has scored a century opening the batting for Tamil Nadu, hence don’t be surprised if he starts winning matches with the bat.

“I’m glad that Virat has shown so much confidence in me and thrown balls at me during the Powerplay and other crucial junctures of the game. For a finger spinner, captain’s confidence is extremely important,” Sundar explained. “I think from batsman point of view while bowling that has kept be going and guessing. I would love to win a game for RCB with the bat. I’ve been focusing on my batting. When the opportunities come, I should be able to step and perform.”

A good IPL season can solidify Sundar’s chances of getting longer rope with the Indian cricket team. The off-spinner appeared in two T20Is against New Zealand earlier this year and one against Sri Lanka before that. Although playing for the national team is not at the top of his head, Sundar would definitely want to extend his India matches which currently stand at 23 T20Is and one one-day international.

“Obviously, the dream is to play for India across formats. I have been working hard on my bowling, batting and fielding,” Sundar said.


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