Washington Sundar: A hidden gem accidentally unearthed

Over the last six months, all-rounder Washington Sundar has shot to fame and recognition. Just like most of the Indian cricketers, Washington Sundar hadn't had a lot of competitive cricket in a long, long time before the IPL 2020 was staged in the UAE.

Sundar did a brilliant job for Royal Challengers Bangalore, bowling at an economy of just 5.96 from 15 matches, taking the franchise into the playoffs. Sundar picked up 8 wickets at an average of 37.25 and a strike rate of 37.50, but it was his control in the powerplay which made him crucial for the Virat Kohli-led franchise.

He contributed with the bat as well, scoring 111 runs. This got him the nod for the India tour of Australia, shortly after IPL, which included 3 T20Is, 3 ODIs and 4 tests.

Sundar did well in the T20Is, claiming 2/34 in the final match of the series. He was not expected to take part in the test series, but agreed to stay back on the tour as a net bowler.

As things stand out, one Indian player was injured after another with both Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja out of injury for the last test match on India's tour of Australia at the Gabba. The Indian team management decided to pluck out Washington Sundar from the reserves and hand him his test debut.

It is to be noted here that the last time Washington Sundar played first class cricket was in 2017 when he opened the batting for Tamil Nadu. Necessity proved to be the mother of invention as Sundar got a place in the playing XI.

And, he did not disappoint, picking three crucial wickets in the first innings. But, what came as a surprise was his brilliant 62 with the bat and his match winning partnership with Shardul Thakur that helped India claim a series victory for the ages.

Sundar then played 3 out of the 4 test matches against England. While he did not receive a lot of opportunities with the ball, he was more than handy with the bat in hand in the lower middle order, scoring 181 runs from four innings at an average of 90.50 and a strike rate of 55.01, including his best of 96 not out.

By the time the series ended, there was little doubt in anyone's mind that India had found a gem from the next generation.