One can only sympathize with Kuldeep Yadav as the chinaman was once again dropped from the playing eleven of Team India in the ongoing day-night Test match against England at the Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium in Ahmedabad.
Kuldeep was picked in the second Test in Chennai – after India lost the first Test where he was again ignored – and could bowl just 12.2 overs in the entire game – he did pick 2 wickets and it seemed that he would play in the entire series. But not so.
Before the second Chennai Test, he was not included for the first Test, and the Brisbane Test against Australia – on both occasions it was surprising to see him dropped for a lesser established spinner, Washington Sundar. In Ahmedabad as well, the Tamil Nadu off-spinner was given the nod ahead of Kuldeep.
The Chennai Test was Kuldeep’s first appearance in the whites for India in over two years after picking a five-wicket haul in Sydney.
We needed Sundar’s batting in such situations: Virat Kohli
Indian captain, Virat Kohli, who lost the toss on Wednesday, announced that Kuldeep was dropped for Sundar as one of the two changes – the other one being the expected return of Jasprit Bumrah for Mohammed Siraj.
Kohli went on to reason out that the team could do good by lengthening the batting with Sundar in bowling-friendly conditions such as the pink-ball Test where batting, especially in the third session under lights, will be difficult.
It was indeed the same reason for the leg-spinner’s ax in Brisbane as Sundar – who later justified the move with his vital knocks in both innings to win India the game – was given his Test debut over the experienced Kuldeep Yadav.
Joe Root won the toss and elected to bat; Virat Kohli reckons that in low-scoring games, Sundar’s batting contribution will be of great help in the fourth innings.
“Bumrah comes in for Siraj and Washington Sundar comes in for Kuldeep Yadav. We wanted to have a spinning option and Washi provides a lot with the bat as well. And having a cushion with the bat helps especially in this situation when we bat second as the game could be evened out after the first innings,” Virat Kohli explained at the toss.