Sunday, 24 Jan, 6.36 pm Orissa POST

Sundar eyeing Test opener slot

New Delhi: Coach Ravi Shastri's dressing room stories of grit and determination work as a tonic for young Washington Sundar. He is ready for any challenge even if it means opening the batting for India in Test matches. In his under-19 days, Sundar was a specialist top-order batsman. However, he then honed his off-spin to such an extent that he is now an automatic choice in India's T20 team.

Sundar was one of the heroes of India's epic triumph in Brisbane. It was his and Shardul Thakur's half centuries in the first innings that kept India in the game.

'I think it will be a blessing for me if I ever get an opportunity to open the batting for India in Tests. I think I will accept the challenge just like our coach Ravi (Shastri) sir did during his playing days,' Sundar said Sunday.

'Ravi sir tells us very inspiring stories from his playing days. Like how he made his debut as a specialist spinner, got four wickets and batted at No. 10 against New Zealand on debut. And how from there, he became a Test opener and played all those great fast bowlers. I would love to open batting in Tests like him,' added the all-rounder.

Washington was asked to stay back in Australia after the white ball series as a net bowler in order to help the Test team prepare. It meant that he was bowing a lot at the nets with the red kookaburra.

'It certainly helped my overall game as I was asked to stay back for Test matches,' said Sundar. He also stated 'it was dream come true' after dismissing Steve Smith.

'Obviously, on the first day in Brisbane, the pitch wasn't doing a lot for spinners but it was like a dream come true to get Steve Smith as my first Test wicket,' Sundar pointed out.

During the epic final day chase, Sundar said he was confident that he and Rishabh Pant could pull it off. 'I knew that with Pant on the other side, the bowlers will be under pressure. If we could quickly get 25 or 30, then we can pull off the target,' informed Sundar.

Natarajan was under pressure

Chennai: Taken to Australia as net bowler, pacer Thangarasu Natarajan ended up making history by debuting in all three formats. He said he didn't expect to get the opportunity and was under pressure in his first match in India colours. 'I was keen to do my job. I didn't expect to get an opportunity in the ODIs. When I was told that I will be playing there was pressure. I wanted to make use of the opportunity. Playing and taking a wicket was like a dream,' Natarajan told reporters Sunday in Chinnappampatti in Salem district. 'I cannot express my happiness in words about playing for India…It was like a dream. I got a lot of support from the coaches, players,' he added.

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Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by Dailyhunt. Publisher: Orissa Post