The Rise of The Batting All-Rounder?

India after defeating England in the final test match have entered into the final of the maiden edition of the ICC World Test Championship. The WTC final is scheduled between June 18 and 22 at Lord’s. At the start of this Test series, both India and England were in contention to make it to the final. They both needed to win the series, of course, and win it well enough to cross Australia’s points percentage of 69.17. From India’s point of view, a win by at least a 2-1 margin was good enough.

With 520 points India will be playing the final of the WTC against New Zealand who had already qualified for the final earlier. India won five out of their six series, only losing 2-0 in New Zealand.

One of the major talents in the Indian Cricket Team right now is none other than Washington Sundar. He possesses unbelievable composure and temperament as seen during the toughest scenarios in Brisbane. Sundar continued with the form he displayed in Australia in the home series against England. At one time India were lacking good batting all-rounders, the ones who specialized in the longest format of the game. Ravindra Jadeja was seen as the only option who was injured and was not announced in the squad for this series. Hardik Pandya was another option but he still hasn’t been tested in scenarios in compliance to Test match cricket. It was a tenure where Team India needed someone to look upto that could bring in the solidity with the bat and someone who could also take the ball and get wickets for the team. It was Washington Sundar’s opportunity which he was given during the fourth and the final test match in the Border-Gavaskar trophy at Gabba. Most of the first team players were injured and out and this was the time Team India needed the young guns to rope into the team and perform. This was when Washington Sundar showed his temperament and class while he was batting and also picked up important wickets for the team.

Surprisingly, Washington Sundar bats at number 8 for India and the kind of form he has shown in the limited number of games he has played, surely tells how solid a batting side Team India is at the moment.

With a gigantic average of 66.2 in Tests, Sundar has just entered into this Indian team and showed what he is capable of. He entered into the team because of his bowling skills mainly and was picked up as a bowling-allrounder in the absence of Ravichandran Ashwin where he showed his talent with both the bat and bowl against the mighty Australia. Playing beautiful shots and technically gifted, Sundar has been a batsman who could bowl all his life. At the U19 stage, he was an opening batsman and shockingly most people are unaware about this until now.

It was the second time in this series against England when Sundar was denied his maiden Test hundred. On the third day of the final Test, the tailenders fell in quick succession and the all-rounder was left stranded unbeaten on 96. Earlier in the first Test in Chennai, he remained unbeaten on 85 while the hosts were bowled out for 337 in the first innings. Sundar could have become only the fourth batsman after Yasir Shah, Ravichandran Ashwin and Mehidy Hasan to score a hundred while batting at eight or lower in the World Test Championship (WTC).

The highlight of Sundar’s impressive knock came off the first ball of the 98th over when he went downtown and greeted Dom Bess with a huge six. He even took the very next delivery on the full to hit a glorious drive through cover for a boundary to bring up the fifty-run partnership with Axar.

Team India having players like Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Washington Sundar and Axar Patel as their all-round options and which of course is a big asset when you have four innings to play. Be it with the bat or with the ball Washington Sundar has stood out of the crowd and shown what a superb pick he can be for the team.

At the moment both New Zealand and India look solid on the team sheets as well as their respective squad depths. It would be exciting to see how Team India utilizes the squad depth and what ideal combinations they go with against New Zealand in the final of the World Test Championship.