Washington Sundar doesn’t feel the need to stress too much on variations so early in his career, but understands the importance of not being too predictable either.
Now set to play in his second IPL season, this time with Royal Challengers Bangalore, Washington can tap on the experience he has gained from the previous season, where he had the best economy for Rising Pune Supergiant, as well as his Man of the Series-winning performance in the recently concluded T20 tri-series in Sri Lanka.
“Obviously, offspinners with mystery balls have an advantage,” he said. “But when you don’t have those mystery balls, you have to stick to your strengths and believe that you can perform in crunch situations with whatever you already have. I haven’t had to look at options (such as mystery balls) because I think it’s too early in my career to be looking at these things.”
He, however, clarified that he wasn’t averse to learning new tricks. “I do want to try things and add new things to my bowling, but it’s also important to know exactly what works at this moment in my career. I believe that I can keep bowling this way for a long time,” he said. “It’s important to not be predictable.
“When an offspinner is bowling, as a batsman you know that most of his deliveries are going to come at around 100 kmph. It’s important to bluff the batsman at times, and it’s important to ensure that ball lands in the right spot. Flighting the ball in this format is very difficult so when you’re trying it, you should be absolutely sure of being able to execute it. That’s what I try to do and that’s how I practice too.”
Washington’s approach and thought process also left his senior colleague impressed. Yuzvendra Chahal, key to RCB’s spin plans since 2014, has for a while manned the powerplay overs to give Kohli breakthroughs. Last season, he went at close to 10 an over in the first six. Washington’s presence could mean he could be relieved of those duties for the time being, a prospect he didn’t seem too disappointed about.
“We played in the Nidahas trophy. He [Washington] bowled in the powerplay, and I got to bowl in the middle overs. So I have more options now,” Chahal said. “In earlier seasons, I was bowling in powerplay and had just two overs left. So now at least someone is there who can bowl in powerplay and I can bowl in middle-overs. So we have more options.”