VVS Laxman has opined that Team India made a wrong call by excluding Kuldeep Yadav from their playing XI for the first Test against England.
The Indian team preferred to play Washington Sundar and Shahbaz Nadeem ahead of Kuldeep Yadav in the first Test in Chennai. While Sundar got the nod because of his batting abilities, Nadeem was picked to have a spinner whose stock ball goes away from right-handed batsmen.
“Not really, not at all. When you playing two off spinners, Kuldeep Yadav more or less becomes the same kind of spinner taking the ball away. So you need variety in the bowling attack.” – Virat Kohli
— CricketMAN2 (@man4_cricket) February 9, 2021
While reviewing the first Test on Star Sports, Laxman pointed out that the omission of Kuldeep Yadav was an incorrect move by the Virat Kohli-led team.
“We were all surprised why Kuldeep Yadav did not play this Test match because he is a wrist spinner and also a frontline spinner. He has been there for a long time with the Indian team, so I feel it was a wrong decision not to play him,” said the 46-year-old.
The former Indian cricketer highlighted that Sundar and Nadeem conceded easy runs and thereby released the pressure exerted on the England batsmen by Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, and Ishant Sharma.
“The way Nadeem and Washington Sundar bowled, you can give runs if the batsmen play good shots, but they gave too many boundary balls. That makes it easy for the batsmen because your three experienced bowlers were maintaining the pressure from one end and it was getting released from the other end,” observed Laxman.
While acknowledging that the inclusion of Kuldeep Yadav may not have guaranteed a win, Ashish Nehra questioned Team India for not following the pecking order.
“It is not that if Kuldeep had played, you would have surely won but the most important thing is that Washington Sundar came from outside, he was not in the team and played in Australia. Axar Patel also came from outside and got injured,” said Nehra
The former Indian pacer asked the team management to release Kuldeep Yadav from the squad if they don’t intend to play him.
“Kuldeep Yadav has been with the team for the last two years, not for the last one or two series. So he should have been tried before Axar Patel, Shahbaz Nadeem and Washington Sundar. If he had not done well, you could have gone towards someone else or you should let him go and play domestic cricket if he is not in your scheme of things,” signed off Nehra.
Just two years ago, Kuldeep Yadav was touted as India’s first choice spinner in Tests. Now, he’s battling to stay afloat. But he needn’t look too far for inspiration. Ashwin & Pant too fought back from periods of self doubt. Stay strong Kuldeep!
— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) February 5, 2021
Kuldeep Yadav has been on the sidelines in the longest format of the game since the 2019 Sydney Test where he took a five-wicket haul.
While he may have failed to get a spot on a few occasions considering the balance of the team, the left-arm wrist-spinner should certainly be fielded in the second Test against England to lend potency to the Indian attack in the absence of Ravindra Jadeja.