India may have lost the ODI series to Bangladesh buy they would want to save some face by winning the dead rubber on Saturday. With three players injured in Rohit Sharma, Kuldeep Sen and Deepak Chahar, the BCCI has added spinner Kuldeep Yadav to the squad hoping that his wrist spin can trouble the in-form Bangladesh batters. Besides Kuldeep, the spin responsibilities will be shared with Washington Sundar, who bowled brilliantly in the second ODI to finish with figures of 3/37.
With Washington being India’s premier all-rounder in the squad, a lot is expected of him, perhaps which is why coach Rahul Dravid was seen giving some valuable batting advice to the India youngster. Outside of his three-wicket burst against Bangladesh, the 23-year-old has been in form with the bat as well, with scores 51 and an unbeaten 37 in the first and third ODIs against New Zealand.
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In a video shared by the BCCI, Washington was seen picking Dravid’s brains as the India coach switched his style and turned left hander. The video showed Washington playing a punch off the back foot on the leg side, but maybe Dravid felt that there is room for improvement. Switching his style, Dravid turned left-handed and showed Washington a better way to play some of the shots.
Although it was just via shadow practice, Dravid showed Washington the cover drive, the trigger movement required to play the backfoot punch, how much should the front foot stretch forward to get to the pitch of the ball and just how close the ball needs to be to the body if the cut shot is to be attempted risk free as the 23-year-old heard his coach attentively.
In the next frame, the video jumped to Washington taking guard again, and then playing a sumptuous cover drive, just the way Dravid had taught. Washington’s batting skills are something India can really make use of. With scores of 19 and 11, he may not have set the tournament on fire but Washington has what it takes to light up the big stage. He has played some brilliant knocks for India in the past – including a half-century in the Gabba Test of the 2020/21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy where he and Shardul Thakur put on a memorable seventh-wicket partnership to save India the blushes in the first innings
In fact, in Tests, Washington has three fifties which shows just how much of a utility player he can be for India in time to come. In the series that followed at home against England, Washington struck back-to-back half-centuries scoring an unbeaten 85 in Chennai and a 96 not out in Ahmedabad, a Test that finished inside two days.