Kuldeep-Chahal duo putting pressure on Ashwin-Jadeja, feel ex-India cricketers
Bedi, Raju laud Kuldeep and Chahal's fine show in SA; reckon they will put pressure on seniors Ashwin and Jadeja
Yuzvendra Chahal (left) and Kuldeep Yadav celebrate a Sri Lankan wicket in a T20I at Cuttack on December 20. Pic/AFP
Team India can now proudly boast that spinners are not just their strength at home, but away as well. Unlike in earlier times when spinners took the backstage on overseas tours, Yuzvendra Chahal (leg-spinner) and Kuldeep Yadav (chinaman) have been a Tour de Force for India in taking a 3-0 lead in the six-match ODI series. This is for the first time in South Africa's ODI history that they are three games down in a series in their own den.
Chahal and Kuldeep claimed four wickets each in the third ODI on Wednesday and together the wrist spinners have claimed 21 wickets in the first three matches so far, averaging 9.05 in the series where there has been minimal assistance from the pitch. Such domination by Indian spinners has never been witnessed outside the sub-continent. Though Kuldeep and Chahal have not let Kohli & Co feel the absence of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in limited overs cricket, South Africa were going to be their first big challenge. And the young spinners haven't put a foot wrong.
Indian spin legend Bishan Singh Bedi felt the pressure on Ashwin and Jadeja has only increased further. "I am very happy that these two kids have done well, but the quality of batsmanship against spin bowling, in general, is quite poor. But let's not take anything away from these two spinners (Kuldeep and Chahal).
"They have put some more pressure now on Ashwin and Jadeja. Mind you, they (Ashwin-Jadeja) are still your No.1 spin pair. But these two kids have been tried out and they have done well, so good luck to them. It's marvelous. It is a very interesting competition (amongst spinners) and that's the way it has to be," Bedi told mid-day yesterday.
Bedi felt it is time to savour the best phase for Indian spinners. "The 2019 World Cup is still very far away, let's just enjoy the moment. There will be a lot of cricket between now and then. They are bowling well, there is no doubt about it. They are tossing the ball up. I am very pleased with Kuldeep. All four will add tremendous variety in the spin attack," he said.
'Right-left combo doing wonders'
Former India left-arm spinner and national selector Venkatapathy Raju felt it is the right-left combination that is doing the trick for India. "Wrist spinners are in demand for various reasons. At one point, off-spinners and leg-spinners were the flavours. Their wicket-taking ability, consistency and not to forget MS Dhoni's invaluable guidance from behind the wicket is doing wonders for them," said Raju, who was on India's 1992-93 tour of South Africa.
He also felt that the Kuldeep and Chahal have taken good advantage of their unpredictability factor. "Not many teams have played them before, so it becomes difficult to read them. They have ample of variety and have the captain's backing. All these factors play a huge role. They have adjusted quickly to bowl the right length on South African pitches which is quite heartening," concluded Raju.
AB de Villiers returns to the South African squad for the last three ODIs against India, Cricket South Africa announced yesterday. The star batsman missed the first three matches because of a finger injury suffered in the third Test. There was no immediate word on whether De Villiers had recovered sufficiently to play in the fourth ODI at the Wanderers on Saturday.
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