England’s struggle against India’s twin wrist spinners – Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal – has been highlighted time and again during the limited overs games in England. The Chinaman bowler especially has left England in trouble, with the batsmen failing to pick his variations, and succumbing to his guile.
In the first ODI, this was on view again. Kuldeep had England in tatters after a strong start, taking six for 25 and paving the way for India’s comfortable win on a batting paradise at Trent Bridge.
Having seen the English batsmen struggle against the wrist spinners, India captain Virat Kohli hinted that they might be tempted at using either or both spinners in the Test series that follows the ODIs.
“Anything is possible with the selections for Tests and there might be a few surprises. Kuldeep is making a strong case for himself and so is Chahal. And looking at the way, the English batsmen have struggled against them, we might be tempted to do it,” Kohli said, after India’s win in the opening ODI on Thursday (July 12).
Amongst the two, Kuldeep has made a stronger case for selection. He already has 11 wickets in three games, and has played perhaps the biggest role in India winning the T20I series and the first ODI. The left-armer has already played two Tests for India, and has impressed in both. However, both came in conditions that were suitable for spin. In England, he might not find the ideal conditions, but that he has still left the English batsmen bamboozled may just help him push his case for selection in the team.
“When it comes to longer game, you need players to make an impact. These two wrist spinners have been making the difference since they have come in. They did it in South Africa in the middle overs. They remain as our key weapons,” Kohli added.
Kohli, however, would not be drawn too much into the future, instead opting to keep his focus on the ongoing ODI series.
“The focus now is winning the next two games. Especially the next game, looking at it from the series perspective. The weather has been lovely. It has been very welcoming. The crowd support has been brilliant. The tour is really long and there is some tough cricket ahead of us which we are looking forward to,” he said.
India are not averse to the surprise squad selection in Tests, going by their recent history. They already have Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja – the top ranked spinners in international cricket – up their sleeve, but the chances of Kuldeep and Chahal in India’s whites may not be too far in the future.
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