Ian Chappell calls India bowler ‘biggest wicket-taking threat on Australian pitches’
India may have one of the most potent pace attacks in the world currently with the Likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar in their side along with experienced spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja but former Australia captain Ian Chappell believes left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav will the biggest threat for Australia when India tours Down Under in December this year.
India’s Australia tour may still be about six months away and the schedule for which may change depending on the virus spread but experts and former cricketers have already started to derive strategies for both sides.
While accepting that choosing a spinner in the XI will prove to be one of the major headaches for India when they try to defend the Border-Gavaskar Trophy later this year, Chappell heaped praise on chinaman Kuldeep Yadav.
“Kuldeep Yadav’s wristspin is the biggest wicket-taking threat on Australian pitches. The decision will call for brave selections,” Chappell wrote in his column for ESPN Cricinfo.
Kuldeep has been one of India’s main spinners in limited overs cricket along with leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal ever since the 2017 Champions Trophy. While Chahal hasn’t yet been able to break into the Test side, Kuldeep has impressed in the limited opportunities he has got so far.
Kuldeep has taken 24 wickets in the 6 Tests he has played so far. Interestingly, Kuldeep’s last Test was in Australia in 2019 where the wrist-spinner had picked up five wickets in the first innings.
“Choosing a spinner will prove a major headache for the Indian selectors. R Ashwin has a great overall record, but not so much in Australia. Ravindra Jadeja’s all-round talents and improved bowling form make him a legitimate challenger,” Chappell said.
Chappell also said all-rounder Hardik Pandya can play a crucial role.
“Assuming India have a full-strength squad - three West Indies cricketers have opted out of the upcoming series in England - the touring selectors have a crucial role to play. It will help if Hardik Pandya is available. He gives India an extra bowling option to maintain the pressure when the leading fast bowlers need a rest. This is Pandya’s chance to gradually build up overs in the three Tests before the SCG match, where he could act as the third seamer so that a second spinner can be included. Having Pandya at seven would necessitate Rishabh Pant keeping and batting at six,” Chappell wrote.
The former Australian captain did not forget to mention that it would be a different challenge for Virat Kohli and Co. against an Australian side rejuvenated by the return of Steve Smith and David Warner, who were not there when India beat Australia in Australia for the first time in 2018-19.
“India’s biggest challenge will be navigating a strong Australian batting line-up. In addition to Smith and Warner, the meteoric rise of Marnus Labuschagne at No. 3 has helped solidify the batting. Australia are now far less reliant for success on big contributions from Smith and Warner,” wrote Chappell.