Ajinkya Rahane has revealed the reason behind picking Washington Sundar over Kuldeep Yadav for the Gabba Test. Rahane, who captained Team India in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after Virat Kohli returned home, admitted that Sundar got the nod because of his batting prowess.
India went into the Brisbane Test without two of the country’s premier spinners in Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, who were both out with injuries.
Kuldeep Yadav, who has played six Tests and has a five-wicket haul against Australia (Sydney 2019) to his name, was expected to be included in the playing XI for the series decider. However, Washington Sundar received his maiden Test cap instead.
“It was a really tough call because Kuldeep was there as a spinner and he deserved to play. But then we had to see our best combination for the given day and the Test match. Washington came in because of his batting. I was thinking about playing 5 bowlers and he could give us that option as well. We know he is a very good batsman and he proved that,” said Rahane.
Washington Sundar didn’t disappoint his captain and scalped the decisive wicket of Steve Smith in the first innings in Brisbane. He then joined hands with Shardul Thakur to notch a 123-run partnership and revived India’s dwindling first innings.
Sundar marked his Test debut by scoring a half-century in the first innings and picking up four wickets in the match. He also played a cameo of 22 runs on the fifth Day to help India script a memorable victory.
A standout feature of Ajinkya Rahane’s captaincy against Australia was his support for the youngsters, both on and off the field. After winning the Brisbane Test, he won the hearts of the fans for the umpteenth time with a brief motivational speech for Kuldeep Yadav.
“Kuldeep, I know it was tough for you, you did not play a game here but your attitude was really good. Your time will come, just keep working hard,” Ajinkya Rahane had said then.
Talking about the same, Rahane remarked that he has been in Kuldeep’s situation in the early years of his career. He understood that it was important to boost the youngster’s confidence for the future.
“Beacause I know how it feels. I have been in that situation. Before making my Test debut, for 2 years I was just outside (the eleven). I believe that each and every member of the team is really capable of winning the Test match for you and you have got to back them. I know Kuldeep’s role in our team is very crucial and he will play a big part in future as well. For me boosting the confidence of players in their abilities is really important,” said Ajinkya Rahane.
Both Kuldeep Yadav and Ajinkya Rahane are part of the Indian squad for the upcoming home series against England.