Former India batsman, VVS Laxman reveals that he was surprised that the Indian team did not pick Kuldeep Yadav for the first Test against England in Chennai. Laxman laments the 227-run loss citing Kuldeep’s non-selection as a key reason for that.
Kuldeep Yadav hasn’t played a single Test match since his five-wicket haul in Sydney two years ago – coach Ravi Shastri hailed the chinaman as India’s first-choice overseas spinner – and has travelled with the team but only warmed the bench.
It seemed like Kuldeep may get a chance in Australia when Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were injured for the Brisbane Test. However, Washington Sundar was given his debut instead of Kuldeep because of Sundar’s superior batting skills.
With the Indian team back in its home conditions versus England, Yadav’s return seemed certain – however, Axar Patel got injured before the match; Shahbaz Nadeem replaced Patel as a like-for-like bowler and Kuldeep was once again dropped for Sundar.
“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,” VVS Laxman told Star Sports.
Nadeem and Sundar gave too many boundary balls: VVS Laxman
As Joe Root and rest of the English batsman piled on big runs in the first innings, Kuldeep Yadav was missed even more, for his international experience more than just the variety and the X-factor he would have brought.
VVS Laxman points out that India’s three premier bowlers – Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, and R Ashwin – created pressure – but it was all released by the ordinary bowling from Nadeem and Sundar, who both were playing in only their second Test match. The two young off-spinners went for runs at an economy of 3.8 in England’s first innings as Joe Root and Ben Stokes milked them for the plenty.
“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,” VVS Laxman added.
The second Test match commences on 13th February at the same venue. It would be once again surprising if Kuldeep Yadav, who averages 24 with the ball in 6 Tests and has taken 2 fifers, doesn’t find a place in the playing eleven.