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Fit-again Washington, Natarajan to return to action with Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy

B Aparajith to lead Tamil Nadu in the absence of the injured Vijay Shankar

Deivarayan Muthu
Washington Sundar last played for Lancashire  •  Getty Images

Washington Sundar last played for Lancashire  •  Getty Images

Allrounder Washington Sundar, who has had a recent history of injuries, is set to return to action for Tamil Nadu in the upcoming 20-over Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Washington has been appointed vice-captain, with B Aparajith replacing Vijay Shankar as captain.
Vijay is yet to recover from the shoulder surgery he underwent after his IPL stint with Gujarat Titans. However, T Natarajan, who has been dealing with a recurring knee injury since his memorable tour of Australia in 2020-21, is set to return to action and lead Tamil Nadu's attack in their quest to defend their T20 title. Natarajan hasn't played a single competitive game since IPL 2022. Natarajan and Vijay were also sidelined from the Tamil Nadu Premier League.
Washington is working his way back after he landed heavily on his left shoulder during his county stint with Lancashire in August. The injury forced him to pull out of India's ODI series in Zimbabwe. This is only the latest in a long sequence of injury setbacks for the 22-year-old allrounder.
He ended up playing just three Royal London Cup matches for Lancashire, scoring 30 runs in two innings and picking up three wickets. Prior to that, he played two County Championship matches too, starring in the win over Northamptonshire with a first-innings haul of 5 for 76 and a knock of 34* in a successful chase of 278.
Around the time Washington was returning to India for rehab in August, Lancashire had tweeted he "will fly home to India to undergo treatment on his injured left shoulder, with a view to the all-rounder potentially returning to play in the #LVCountyChamp in September".
ESPNcricinfo has now learned that Washington is unlikely to head back to the UK for the final rounds of the County Championship.
At the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, he will be part of a potent Tamil Nadu spin attack that includes mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy, legspinner M Ashwin and left-arm fingerspinners M Siddharth and R Sai Kishore. Siddharth was recently with India's T20I side as a net bowler for the Asia Cup.
Barring new faces J Suresh Kumar and G Ajitesh, all other 14 members in Tamil Nadu's squad have had a taste of the IPL as squad players or support players. Suresh Kumar, who was the second-highest run-getter in TNPL 2022, behind R Sanjay Yadav, is the back-up keeper-opener to N Jagadeesan.
In his first TNPL season with Nellai Royal Kings, Ajitesh - having moved from Bengaluru - slotted in as a finisher and sent 14 of the 53 balls he faced over the boundary. However, there was no room for Aparajith's twin brother B Indrajith, who had played for Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2022, and M Mohammed, who was a net bowler with Punjab Kings during the same season.
Squad: B Aparajith (capt), Washington Sundar (vice-capt), B Sai Sudharsan, T Natarajan, M Shahrukh Khan, R Sai Kishore, R Sanjay Yadav, Sandeep Warrier, M Siddharth, Varun Chakravarthy, J Suresh Kumar, C Hari Nishaanth, N Jagadeesan, R Silambarasan, M Ashwin, G Ajitesh

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo