Christchurch : Former India head coach Ravi Shastri felt off-spin all-rounder Washington Sundar had grabbed the opportunities in the recently-concluded ODI series against New Zealand, while noting that the left-handed batter showed “great maturity” while making a gritty 51 in the washed out third ODI at Christchurch.
At Hagley Oval, Sundar slammed his maiden ODI fifty to carry India to a modest 219 in 47.3 overs after being put in to bat first by New Zealand on a green pitch and under overcast conditions. India’s innings never really got going, till Sundar stood up to hit five crisp fours and a six, which took him to his fifty, in a 64-ball knock to take the visitors’ past 200-mark.
In the ODI series opener at Auckland, Sundar had hit an unbeaten 16-ball 37, hitting three fours and as many sixes, to put finishing touches in India’s total of 307/6. Though Sundar didn’t pick any wicket in the series, he was at his economical best, as seen from an economy rate of 4.46.
“He grabbed the opportunity with both hands. And today I think he showed great maturity with the bat. Tough conditions, the top order struggled, and the ball was beating the bat but right from the outset in 5-7 minutes you knew this guy was composed.”
“He looked organized, he left the ball well and the balance was fabulous and his footwork very positive. When he hit a couple of boundaries you knew he was on his way. So this innings will do him a world of good.
Proper batter in tough conditions to get a half-century. I think he should take that,” said Shastri to broadcasters Prime Video after the series ended. Though India lost the ODI series 1-0, Shastri feels that there are many positive points for India to take away from New Zealand in a series where two matches were rained out.
“I think a lot of positives came from this one-day series. Shreyas Iyer getting runs in a couple of matches. Willing to stay there and willing to go through the tough period. Suryakumar of course has the potential, has the talent, and he will deliver.”
“Washington Sundar I thought was very good. And even Umran Malik, I like the way he bowled. There’s potential there. If he can persevere, it will be very good. All around, there was very positive Shubman Gill at the start of the innings.”
Shastri remarked that playing in conditions different from what is found at home will help young players immensely in future. “These conditions are tough, you don’t get these conditions often, and you don’t travel to New Zealand that often.
So I think for young cricketers to come here and get this kind of exposure is excellent. The weather and the ground dimensions need to be taken into account.” India’s next international assignment will be a three-match ODI series in Bangladesh, starting from December 4.