India Tour of NZ: Finally free of INJURIES, Washington Sundar set to be No 1 off-spinner in T20s, Ravichandran Ashwin set for T20 EXILE, Check OUT

India Tour of NZ: India vs NewZealand LIVE: Finally free of injuries, Washington Sundar is set for a new lease of life with…

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India Tour of NZ: India vs NewZealand LIVE: Finally free of injuries, Washington Sundar is set for a new lease of life with Team India. As BCCI is set to phase out Ravichandran Ashwin in line with T20 reboot following India T20 WC Exit, India need an off-spinner. But more than that, India need batting depth. Sundar provides both to Team India. While he is not at the same level in terms of off-spin bowling, he is the only next-best option at the moment. Follow IND vs NZ LIVE Updates on InsideSport.IN.

A selection committee member said Sundar going forward will be the first-choice office in T20s. NewZealand tour will be his first test as India look for a full-time option.

“There is no doubt Washington is a very capable player. In fact, he was our first choice after 2021 WC. But his progress has been dampened by far too many injuries. He is injury free now and would play a crucial role. Ashwin has a big role to play in WC next year and needs to be at his prime to tackle both Test and ODIs. Hence, Washington definitely play a lot of T20s considering he is fit,” the selection committee member told InsideSport.

India Tour of NZ: Finally free of INJURIES, Washington Sundar set to be No 1 off-spinner in T20s, Ravichandran Ashwin set for T20 EXILE, Check OUT

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What has clearly limited Sundar’s progress is his string of injuries. Since his heroics in Australia in early 2021, he has been marred by injuries. Since his debut in Brisbane, he has had 4 major injuries and a month-long Covid-19 layoff.

Washington Sundar Injury timeline: Missed series due to injury

  • India Tour of England 2021: Fractured finger
  • India Tour of South Africa: Covid-19
  • India Tour of Sri Lanka: Pulled hamstring
  • IPL 2022: Split webbing, Finger injury
  • India Tour of West Indies: Shoulder injury
  • India Tour of Zimbabwe: Shoulder injury

But as India are looking for an overhaul, especially in T20s, he is once again in selectors’ mind. The fact that there is no third off-spinner, makes him an invaluable asset to Team India.

After Harbhajan Singh retired, he passed the mantle to Ashwin, an equally world-class off-spinner. However, barring Sundar, there is not much depth in off-spin bowling in India at the moment. The only off-spinner who is littler closer to Ashwin is Karnataka’s Krishnappa Gowtham in terms of domestic exploits. However, he hasn’t really established himself as a white-ball bowler. Plus, he is already 34 years old. Jayant Yadav is the other option. But he too is already over 30.

India Tour of NZ: Finally free of INJURIES, Washington Sundar set to be No 1 off-spinner in T20s, Ravichandran Ashwin set for T20 EXILE, Check OUT

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That leaves Washington Sundar best-placed to take the mantle. He has already begun to show his off-spin bowling skills. In the County Championships, his off-break bamboozled Kent’s Jordon Cox.

While he may not be ready to take the mantle of Ashwin in Test cricket just yet, he is certainly one in T20s. Axar Patel has proven that he may not be a great success story in conditions like Australia. Hence, to partner a leggie, he will be the best candidate.

But for that to happen, he needs to prove himself all over again. NewZealand tour will be his ideal place. As Kiwis are set to test bench strength against a relatively strong Indian squad-led by Hardik Pandya, it will be his moment to shine.

“Definitely, a lot of eyes will be on Washington. He has what it takes to succeed. He will have to manage his body a bit better. NZ tour is where he will make a return and if he does well, he will be in contention always,” the selection committee member said.

As for Ashwin, the selectors and the BCCI will speak to Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma first next week. And then, a call will be taken on his future. Apart from Ashwin, Dinesh Karthik has also most likely played his last T20 game for India. A decision on Bhuvneshwar Kumar Mohammad Shami will be taken after discussion.

“We haven’t spoken to him about his T20 future after WC. They have just returned. Once we speak to captain and coach, we will make a decision,” the selector added.

India Tour of NZ: Finally free of INJURIES, Washington Sundar set to be No 1 off-spinner in T20s, Ravichandran Ashwin set for T20 EXILE, Check OUT

India’s squad for New Zealand T20Is: Hardik Pandya (C), Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan, Deepak Hooda, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (VC and WK), Sanju Samson (WK), Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Arshdeep Singh, Harshal Patel, Mohd. Siraj, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umran Malik

India’s squad for New Zealand ODIs:  Shikhar Dhawan (C), Shubman Gill, Deepak Hooda, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (VC and WK), Sanju Samson (WK), Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Shahbaz Ahmed, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Arshdeep Singh, Deepak Chahar, Kuldeep Sen, Umran Malik

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