Ravi Shastri has heaped praise on Washington Sundar, saying the 22-year-old can be the leading all-rounder in Indian cricket over the next three years if he works on his fitness. Shastri has further opined Sundar can be an easy fit in Tests, but he needs to work on his batting to get better in T20s.
Even at 22, Washington Sundar has been widely considered as one of the next big things in Indian cricket. Sundar has been bowling brilliantly with accuracy and can hit lusty blows as well with the bat. However, the only area of concern is his fitness, which has forced him to be on the sideline for some time already in his young career.
Former India head coach Ravi Shastri, while speaking to ESPNCricinfo, rated Sundar highly on Sunday. Shastri said Sundar can be 'the future' of India if only he can work on his fitness. Moreover, Shastri mentioned that Sundar can be India's leading all-rounder as well if he can remain fit and fine for the rest of his career.
"He (Sundar) is going to be one of India's leading all-rounders. He is the future. You have [Ravindra] Jadeja today. Three years down the line, if Jadeja is still fit, he will play. There is Axar [Patel] around. But this guy is your premier all-rounder across all three formats of the game. Hear what I am saying. Three formats of the game," Shastri said on ESPNcricinfo's analysis show T20 Time: Out.
"This guy is a serious cricketer. He is still very young, he has got to understand his own game, and how good a player he is. Shot selection will come, especially for the white-ball format. [If he] works on his fitness so that he is not injury-prone, India have got a serious cricketer in him. Across all formats of the game. I think it is up to him really to do the hard yards on fitness. No excuse. He can't depend on X, Y, Z. He has to look at himself in the mirror and say I want to work hard and I want to be the leading allrounder in Indian cricket over the next three years. And he can do it. Easy."
Further, Shastri said that Sundar can be an easy fit for Test cricket, but he needs to focus on his batting to keep his place in T20Is.
"In Test cricket, he can occupy that No. 6 position in the future, 6 or 7. He bats, where he goes as the batting allrounder. Overseas he can bowl you those overs in a specialist spinner's place and gives that balance. In India, he can bat at no. 6. You are allowed to play two extra spinners. That's how important a player he is," he added.
"In T20 cricket he can bowl. No problem with his bowling. It is just understanding which player, and which lengths. Batting. It is his shot selection, the ability is there. This guy has the ability. He has to be properly groomed, and educated on how good he is. Especially when it comes to shot selection,. He is a serious cricketer, that kid."