The intrigue of indigenous Washington

The IPL sensation was named after his father’s patron, an ex-army man

Washington Sundar played a crucial role in Rising Pune Supergiant’s victory in the first playoff.   -  Vivek Bendre

 

What’s in a name? A lot actually.

It can hide tales of struggle, mark an occasion, or just remember a special person.

Why then is this season’s IPL sensation M.S. Washington Sundar called Washington? Was he born in the US or does he have some connection with that country?

The answer is ‘no.’

His father M. Sundar, an all-rounder in his time, revealed to this newspaper, “I am a Hindu and come from a very humble family. Two streets away from my home in Triplicane lived an ex-army man called P.D. Washington.”

Fond of cricket

Washington Sundar with his dad.

 

Sundar added, “Washington was extremely fond of cricket and would come to watch us play at the Marina ground. He took a liking for my game.”

And the bond between the former soldier and a young, promising cricketer grew. “I was poor and he would buy uniform for me, pay my school fee, get me books, take me to the ground in his cycle and constantly encourage me,” said Sundar.

And when Sundar subsequently turned out in the TNCA first division league for clubs such as Bunts, Sridhar CC and Alwarpet, Washington was always around guiding and cheering him.

Sundar said, “To me he was everything. He was the happiest man when I made it to the Ranji probables.”

Washington passed away in 1999, and Sundar’s first son was born a few months later. “My wife had a difficult delivery. But the baby survived.”

Sundar added, “As per the Hindu custom, I whispered a God’s name, ‘Srinivasan,’ in his ear. But I decided to name him Washington in memory of the man who had done so much for me. Had I had a second son, I would have called him Washington Jr.”

What’s in a name? Well, a lot actually.

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