Once being hailed as India’s first-choice spinner in overseas conditions, Kuldeep Yadav has fallen out of favor in the past two years and has been consigned to warm the bench rather than feature in the playing 11 more often than not. Following a couple of bad seasons for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League, Kuldeep lost his place in the Indian T20I team.
He was not picked for the T20I series against Australia but many felt that that the chinaman would get an opportunity at some stage during the four-match Test series. However, Kuldeep did not play a single Test in Australia, not even when the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were unavailable for the series-decider in Brisbane. The team-management decided to go with rookie Washington Sundar, who to his credit, performed brilliantly with both bat and ball.
However, with Ashwin coming back in the side for the home Tests against England and Ravindra Jadeja still injured, one felt that Kuldeep will finally get a chance to play, especially after Ajinkya Rahane and bowling coach Bharat Arun gave enough indications that the leg-spinner’s time will come in home Tests.
However, much to everyone’s surprise, Team India went with the duo of Washington Sundar and Shahbaz Nadeem in the Chennai Test. MSK Prasad, during an interaction with Sportskeeda, defended the team-management by stating that the decision to play Washington Sundar might be motivated because of his batting skills.
“Personal issues definitely won’t matter. I don’t think Virat will be thinking on those lines. Virat or team management would have had different plans about the selection. Washington Sundar did extremely well in his last Test match. They must have thought of having an extra batsman who can bowl,” MSK Prasad was quoted saying by Sportskeeda.
As far as picking Nadeem is concerned, MSK Prasad cited England batsmen’s recent struggles against left-arm spin as the reason behind the team-management opting to go with him. He, however, added that he would have definitely picked Kuldeep Yadav.
”With regard to Nadeem, the stats show that England had a little tough time against left-arm spinners in Sri Lanka. Though they won the two Test matches, the left-arm spinners got a lot of wickets. So that’s the reason why they would have preferred Nadeem. My personal choice would have definitely been Kuldeep but the reason for Nadeem’s inclusion might be this”, added Prasad.
Meanwhile, following a horrendous performance by Shahbaz Nadeem in the first Test, the team-management has released the left-arm orthodox from the 12-men squad and has replaced him with Axar Patel.