Explained: Why Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur not in India’s playing XI

Siraj walks back to the pavilion after being bowled by Hazlewood

If you are wondering why India’s left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav continues to be ignored at home despite three spinners finding spots in India’s playing XI for the opening Test match against England, there are two reasons to the story.

As per sources, Kuldeep wasn’t in the scheme of things from the start of the series, because he brings the ball into the right-hander with his wrist spin. With Ravichandran Ashwin and Washington Sundar providing the same angle, the Indian team management was looking at Axar Patel, who, however, got injured before the Test match.

If Kuldeep had played the Chennai Test, there wouldn’t have been anyone taking the ball away from the right-hander. Hence, left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem got the nod. Further, Kuldeep’s isn’t as good a batsman as Sundar, and therefore, the management wanted to ensure enough depth in the lower-middle order.

All those theories of Kuldeep being a victim for expressing his views over getting dropped from the playing XI is turning out to be far from the truth. If that was the case, the Kanpur-based spinner won’t have been in the Test squad.

What this also proves is that the management has plenty of hope in Kuldeep’s ability. If one goes by the logic of rewarding a player for a previous Test performance, even Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur should have played the Chennai Test.

It is also learnt that Siraj lost a bit of pace during the Sydney Test, but he did make a strong comeback at the Gabba. However, making him play ahead of Ishant Sharma, who did a reasonable job by restricting the flow of runs and that too in Chennai, is something really debatable.

Notably, the Indian cricket team management is up for a rotation policy to keep the fast bowlers in the right shape. As far as Thakur is concerned, he is certainly in the scheme of things and that is why he is a part of the main squad.

Clearly, the management wanted three spinners for the Tests and whether or not the bowling combination would change is down to a collective final decision. However, one thing is clear, the bowlers’ ability with the bat is going to influence their selection in the Indian playing XI.

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