The way he has grown in confidence in the last year or so, bodes well for him and Team India
Kuldeep Yadav during the recent Asia Cup tie v Nepal. Pic/AFP
Just a couple of years ago Kul-Cha was touted as the much-favoured spin bowling combination by the Indian team management in white ball cricket. But gradually Yuzvendra Chahal fell out of favour, and Kuldeep Yadav, after being kept on the bench, has now gained ascendency. He is being touted as an indispensable part of the Indian bowling unit, both at the ongoing Asia Cup as well as the upcoming World Cup. The way he has grown in confidence in the last year or so, bodes well for him and Team India.
Three left-arm spinners
Given the team already have two left-arm spinners in Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel, who bring the ball into left-handed batters, the chairman of selectors Ajit Agarkar was asked about the absence of an off-spinner in the World Cup team, be it the experienced Ravichandran Ashwin or Washington Sundar.
“We did consider the names of Ashwin and Sundar. And we are aware that both Jadeja and Axar bring the ball into the left-handers. But we have Kuldeep who takes the ball away. We thought he’s bowling well these days and has improved as a bowler greatly. He can be a handful, not only for right-handed batters, but also left-handers. Thus, to maintain the balance of the team, we think Kuldeep is good enough to fill in for an off-spinner,” Agarkar replied.
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That shows just how much confidence the selectors, captain Rohit Sharma and coach Rahul Dravid have in Kuldeep’s ability to deliver in conditions where spinners have a say. The rarity of left-arm wrist spinners in international cricket gives bowlers like Kuldeep an advantage. They can be effective in the middle overs, where containment is key.
Coach Pandey delighted
Kuldeep’s coach Kapil Dev Pandey is extremely happy to see his ward finally become an integral part of the Indian team. “I’ve been saying for a long time that Kuldeep is a bowler who needs to be given chances regularly. The more he plays, the more he will gain confidence and could become the spearhead of the [spin] attack. Of late, he is being picked regularly in the playing XI and you can see the difference. Kuldeep has great control over line and length, and though he tends to go for a few runs, he is the type of bowler who can get the team vital breakthroughs in the middle overs,” said Pandey.