While Rising Pune Supergiant's injury problems might not be as bad as that of Royal Challengers Bangalore, the loss of Ravichandran Ashwin is still going to hurt the Maharashtra-based franchise. Pune have chosen Tamil Nadu all-rounder Washington Sundar as a replacement for the ace India spinner.
Ashwin, who is ranked eighth on the ICC T20 bowlers list, was ruled out of the current IPL season due to a sports
"I'm feeling really excited to see this new world [IPL]. Ashwin is a legend and getting a chance to be part of the team in place of him is a big thing for me. After getting this opportunity, I have gained more belief in my hard work," Sundar told ToI.
Pune had shortlisted the 17-year-old former India U-19 all-rounder and Parvez Rasool for a trial. The youngster outperformed his more illustrious opponent and was even able to dismiss Smith.
"There wasn't much pressure. I have been bowling really well and I knew I would be able to do well in the trial. I was up against Ben Stokes, MS Dhoni, and Steve Smith. I got Smith bowled. Though it was in a practice session, I felt good to have dismissed a legend like him. I also managed to keep things tidy against Stokes who was looking to be at his aggressive best. Those things gave me confidence," Sundar said.
A couple of days later, Sundar received a word of "appreciation" from Dhoni and the Pune mentor for his bowling performance in the trials.
"I bowled to Dhoni for a long time yesterday in the nets. He gave me advice and appreciated me a few times," Sundar said.
Sundar also took the opportunity to thank Tamil Nadu coach Hrishikesh Kanitkar for backing him during his career.
"Big thanks to him (Kanitkar). He trusted my abilities as an all-rounder," said Washington, who was a member of the junior India team that finished runners-up in the U-19 World Cup last year.