Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
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Washington Sundar is likely to miss at least the next two games for Sunrisers Hyderabad after suffering split webbing in his bowling hand, coach Tom Moody has revealed.
Washington has been the lone specialist spinner for the Sunrisers so far this season. After a poor opening fixture where he was taken apart for 47 in three wicketless overs against Rajasthan Royals, he has bounced back to pick up a combined 4 for 63 across 11 overs since then.
On Monday night, he couldn't bowl his full quota of overs because of the injury. His three wicketless overs - two of which were in the powerplay - went for just 14. It kept Gujarat Titans quiet, with Hardik Pandya, their captain, lamenting missing out on the "extra 7-10 runs" they may have needed to make a match of it.
"Washington has torn the webbing in his right hand, between his thumb and first finger," Moody said. "We must monitor that over the next two-three days. Hopefully, it isn't a significant blow. I'd imagine it'd take probably a week or so to settle down."
Washington has been dogged by injury and illness over the last few months. He had missed India's three T20Is against West Indies in February after suffering a hamstring while fielding during the third ODI in Ahmedabad. Even in 2021, he was forced to miss the second half of IPL in the UAE after hurting his finger.
Shreyas Gopal, the legspinner, and J Suchith, the left-arm spinning allrounder, are two potential options Sunrisers can choose from. They also have Abdul Samad, one of their retentions, who can bowl some part-time leg spin. However, banking on him alone could leave a massive hole in the spin department.
Sunrisers, unlike some of the other teams that have been spin heavy, have fielded a slightly different combination so far this season. They have gone in with four pacers plus Washington as a specialist spinner, with Aiden Markram, the South African allrounder, being a handy off spinning option if required.
"We also consider Aiden Markram as a good sixth bowler, and he bowls spin well," Moody said of their bowling plans. "Most teams we've played have quite a few left-handers in their top order, so it has suited us to have eight overs of offspin if we require.
"We haven't yet seen the surface turn a huge amount, but as the tournament unfolds, we may see the conditions change slightly where spinners come into the game and then that balance of pace versus spin might change."
Meanwhile, the injury to batter Rahul Tripathi, which forced him to retire hurt midway through their chase against Titans, isn't a serious one.
Tripathi, their No. 3, fell flat on the ground clutching onto his right hamstring that needed medical attention on Monday. He left the field after having made an 11-ball 17, but by then Sunrisers were well on their way to a second straight win. Nicholas Pooran and Markram then saw them home with five balls to spare.
"He's fine, he's just getting cramped," Moody said. "It's humid conditions and we get him to run to hotspots, so he covers a lot of ground in the first two-three overs. That is something we may need to look at to make sure we get the maximum out of him with the bat because obviously, he is a very valuable player for us."
Sunrisers have games against Kolkata Knight Riders and Punjab Kings coming up on Friday and Sunday, respectively.