Kuldeep Yadav’s growing credentials in international cricket has earned him admirers world over and the latest to join the list is legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar, who is of the opinion that the chinaman bowler is “ready for the longest version of the game”.
“I have always maintained that he’s ready for the longest version of the game and that will be the most challenging one. I think he’s ready. Looking at his repertoire he has the capability to go there and compete, without any doubt. The English summer is pretty warm this time. If there’s a bit of help for our spinners then I am sure we will be in a position in the series to hurt them. That will be a critical factor,” Tendulkar told Reuters.
The wrist spin duo of Kuldeep and Yuzvendra Chahal had a successful series in South Africa, and played key roles in India’s victories in the ODIs there. Kuldeep extended his good form in the recent games against Ireland and England, finishing as the leading wicket-taker in the T20I series and second-best in the ODI series, with 21 wickets from seven games across the limited-overs formats over the last 30 days.
With England’s batsmen struggling to read Kuldeep in a few matches, India skipper Virat Kohli has been open to the idea of using wrist spin in the Test series as well. While the India squad has top-ranked spinners in R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep’s recent performances might just put him up the pecking order in terms of Test selection.
“Kuldeep is making a strong case for himself and so is Chahal. Looking at the way, the English batsmen have struggled against them, we might be tempted to do it,” Kohli had said during the ODI series against England.
Although India are grappling with injury issues to their key pace options – Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, Tendulkar feels the depth in the team is such that they can overcome the problems.
“We have bowlers who can bat and we have batters who can roll their arm over. The ‘keeper’s contribution also becomes important in batting and we have that. Ashwin and Jadeja can also bat. We also have a seam-bowling all-rounder in Hardik Pandya who can bat. That was one element missing, though Hardik’s just started his career. But whatever I see on paper, we have good balance.
“It’s always nice to have the full playing XI. It’s nice to have all players available. But injuries happen and not having the full squad is also part and parcel of any sport. It’s one of those challenges we have to face and it doesn’t mean we won’t be able to produce the results. We are in a position to produce the results.
“One example that I was part of – we had gone to play in Toronto against Pakistan and we were without [Javagal] Srinath, Venkatesh Prasad and [Anil] Kumble, who were our three frontline bowlers. And we beat Pakistan 4-1,” said Tendulkar, reminiscing his playing days when there was a lack of quality back-up options.
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