In the 402-run classic between Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020, there was only one bowler who came out of the match with his reputation intact, returning with figures of 4-0-12-1. Most of Washington Sundar's overs came in the powerplay where he conceded just seven in three overs along with taking a wicket.
Only 21, Washington, in his brief cricketing career, has already made a name for himself for being a highly effective powerplay bowler in T20 cricket. It's a role that he has been playing regularly for his teams at the domestic and international levels.
RCB, however, have taken a different route in the three matches they have played this season so far. Washington has only been used twice in the powerplay with just three overs across three matches.
Virat Kohli also sparsely used Washington in the powerplay against England in the recently concluded T20I series. It may come as a surprise for many but it appears as a conscious move, keeping the opposition batsmen profile in mind, from Kohli and RCB management. He has also only bowled seven overs in total in the three matches so far.
Washington, however, is not worried about his situation. He understands that match-ups and statistics play a major role in modern-day cricket and is ready to play whatever role his team demands.
"In modern-day cricket, you do a lot of homework as to what exactly would help the team win games against each opponent and there's a lot to do with homework and statistics as well," Washington said at a virtual media event where he launched the wireless earbuds Liberty Air 2 Pro by Soundcore.
"More than anything wherever the management and captain want me to bowl I should be ready and that's the kind of bowler and that's the kind of team we are. Very happy to do whatever job the management and captain want me to do."
Washington is coming into the IPL on the back of some memorable performances at the international level. He made his Test debut against Australia in Brisbane as a replacement for injured Ravichandran Ashwin.
Apart from taking four wickets in the match, the all-rounder scored a hard-fought 62 in the first innings and 22 in the second as India clinched the Test. In the Test series against England, he scored two fifties, including the highest score of 96 not out.
The youngster deems the opportunity to play the five-day format for India as a "dream-come-true" and hopes to carry forward the confidence gained from it into his game.
"Performing well in Test cricket definitely boosts the confidence of any cricketer and to play Test cricket at the highest level for the Indian cricket team, which has been doing really really well in the last few years, is a dream-come-true moment for any youngster and that's happened to me," said the Tamil Nadu cricketer.
"We played against two top-quality sides, against Australia and England, so yes, performing against them and winning games against them did give me a lot of confidence and belief in myself. That confidence, I will definitely take it forward and also the momentum, I would really love to take it forward throughout the IPL and the games to come."
The IPL is once again being held behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And Washington said while cricketers would love to play in front of the crowd, they have got used to the current scenario.
"Last IPL was also played behind closed doors so we are very much used to it but we will love to have a lot of crowds supporting us. The kind of energy the crowd brings in is amazing but it's the best we can do. We are very happy that we can play cricket," said the cricketer.