One of the most astounding features of Duleep Trophy so far has been the transformation of chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav under lights.
Against India Blue, the 21-year-old struggled find the length in the first session of the opening day, but on Tuesday, as the artificial lights began to take control, Yadav, almost on cue, rediscovered himself. He began to flight the ball, the variations were unfurled, and the Uttar Pradesh bowler found sufficient dip and drift to snare four wickets in 13 balls.
Even in the first match against Suresh Raina’s India Green, Yadav bamboozled the opposition once the floodlights were switched on. While the pink ball does offer early movement off the seam, the challenge for the batsmen has been to read the wrist-spinners.
However, what has made Yadav and India Green leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal difficult to gauge is not vicious turn, but the black seam on the high gloss pink ball. It was a point attested by Red’s batsman Gurkeerat Mann, who admitted to trouble in sighting the ball.
“I had problems sighting the ball initially. Once the ball became wet, it was difficult to pick the wrist spinners as they bowled with a cross seam and the revolutions were not clearly visible because the black seam was lost in the bright pink gloss. That is why all the wrist spinners like Yadav and (Shreyas) Gopal picked wickets,” Mann told HT after the first match. His observations were seconded by India Blue opener Mayank Agarwal on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Agarwal fell to Yadav after looking set. The Karnataka right-hander had just deposited Yadav over the straight boundary to enter the 90s, but perished trying to repeat the shot two balls later.
“He gets good drift and dip under lights. Nothing alarming, but I felt it is little difficult because the background is dark and the seam is also black,” he explained.
Brief scores: Day 3: India Blue 285/5 in 78.2 ovs (M Agarwal 92, G Gambhir 77, S Jackson 48*, Kuldeep Yadav 4/78) v India Red