“I am extremely excited to play county cricket for the first time with Lancashire Cricket,” Washington Sundar said in a media statement from the county. “To play in English conditions will be a great experience for me and I can’t wait to play at Emirates Old Trafford.
“I would like to thank both Lancashire Cricket and the BCCI for allowing this opportunity [to] happen and I’m looking forward to joining up with the squad next month.”
Mark Chilton, Lancashire’s director of cricket performance, welcomed Washington into the set-up. “Washington is a multi-format all-rounder whose skills with both bat and ball will be a great addition for us in the Royal London Cup and County Championship this summer,” he said. “His international and IPL experiences will be invaluable in the development of our younger cricketers, many of whom he will be playing with during his stay. The addition of Washington is one that will excite our members and supporters, along with helping our continued push to bring silverware back to Emirates Old Trafford.”
Washington has suffered multiple setbacks because of injury and illness since last year. He was lined up to return to action for his state side Tamil Nadu in the 20-overs Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, but it is understood that the Indian team management had then warned Tamil Nadu against rushing him back into action.
Washington’s Lancashire gig will clash with the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL), which kicks off on June 23 in Tirunelveli. Washington is with Salem Spartans in the TNPL, but it is understood that he did not take part in the side’s preparatory camp in Chennai.
“He is going to be one of India’s leading allrounders,” Shastri had said. “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 allrounder across all three formats of the game. Hear what I am saying. Three formats of the game.
“This guy is a serious cricketer. He is still very young, he has got to understand his own game, 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. Don’t excuse. He ca n’t depend on X, Y, Z. He has to look at himself in the mirror and say he 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.”