Chennai: Washington Sundar is living a dream at the moment.
Having impressed MS Dhoni and Steve Smith while playing for Rising Pune Supergiant during last edition, the spin bowling all-rounder is gearing up to share the dressing room with Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers after being picked by RCB for Rs 3.3 crore at the IPL auctions.
"I am delighted to have been picked up by RCB. I am a big fan of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. It will be a priceless experience to play with them after having played alongside MS Dhoni for (Rising) Pune Supergiant last year," Washington told PTI during an interaction.
He also said playing being part of the Bengaluru franchise would be a blessing as he could learn new things by watching the stalwarts at close quarters.
"Having played with MSD in last year's IPL and imbibed a lot of good things and now I feel it will be a blessing to be in Kohli's team. I can learn a lot by watching them from close quarters," Washington, whose base price was Rs 1.5 crore, added.
His aim is to improve as much as possible now that he has been dropped from the Indian limited overs team after just one series.
"My aim is to keep improving and perform to the best of my ability in every opportunity I get," he added.
The youngster, who was picked up by RPS last year as replacement for his illustrious state-mate Ravichandran Ashwin, impressed in IPL-10 and has since graduated to the national team in the ODI and T20 format.
The lanky all-rounder's father M Sundar was happy with the turn of events and said more than the money, it was important that his son will get an opportunity to play in a good team.
"I can't express my happiness in words. It is a great opportunity for him. He will be part of a good team with a lot of big names to boot. He can learn a lot," he added.
"Last year, he was bought for his base price (by RPS). But he got recognised for his performances and earned a national call-up," the senior Sundar said.
He said the IPL is a good platform for young players and brought to fore their talent helping cricketers like Washington Sundar.
"I believe IPL is the No 1 tournament in the world. It is a huge platform for youngsters and has helped my son. To be able to play alongside some of the biggest names in the game at a young age is a big boost to any cricketer," he said.
Tamil Nadu's limited-overs captain Vijay Shankar, who last year earned a call-up to the national side during the Test series against Sri Lanka, was roped in by Delhi Daredevils for Rs 3.2 crore (base price Rs 40 lakh), was also a happy man.
"I had no expectations. I am very happy that Daredevils showed faith in my abilities and picked me," he said.
"All I want to do is to give my best for the team and keep learning. I learnt a lot during last year's IPL and was able to get better. Hope to improve with the new side," Shankar said.
"Had a terrific few years @IPL down South @ChennaiIPL @SunRisers & would like to thank everyone for the support & some great memories!! Now I embark on a new journey as I head to the Capital #NewDelhi, super excited to be part of @DelhiDaredevils #DilDilli #IPLAuction #IPL2018," he tweeted.
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu's left-arm paceman T Natarajan, who created a buzz after being picked for Rs three crore by Kings XI Punjab last year, said he was extremely happy to be chosen by Sunrisers Hyderabad this time at his base price (Rs 40 lakh) after having been out of the game due to an elbow injury for a while.
"I had no expectations and was hoping I would get picked because I did not play in the Ranji Trophy or the national T20 tournament. So I am really happy," he said.
The left-arm pacer also said he was recovering after undergoing a surgery on his bowling arm and hoped to play the forthcoming Vijay Hazare Trophy that begins here early next month.
"I have been working hard on my comeback. I hope to be ready to play the Vijay Hazare Trophy," he added.
Having enjoyed mixed fortunes during his Kings XI stint, Natarajan, who hails from a village in Salem district, said he hoped to do better this time and looked forward to working with Sri Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan (SRH's bowling coach).
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