'If Ashwin is our first option and Jadeja...': Ex-chief selector picks bowlers India 'must play to win vs Australia'
Such has been Kuldeep's form with the ball that he also found his way into India's squad for the first two Tests against Australia. It, however, will be very difficult for the left-arm wrist spinner to break into the XI. Especially after Ravindra Jadeja proved his fitness in a Ranji Trophy fixture.
Kuldeep Yadav is in the form of his life. It's an entirely different thing that he has spent most of his purple patch warming the benches in the Indian team. But whenever he has got an opportunity, he has made the most of it. Take the first Test against Bangladesh in December last year for example. Kuldeep picked up 8 wickets in the match on his comeback with the red ball after almost two years. He was adjudged Player of the Match for leading India to victory but he could not retain his place in the next match. He played only two ODIs against Sri Lanka, where did exceptionally well, forcing the team management to play him in every white-ball fixture against New Zealand so far despite Yuzvendra Chahal's presence in the squad.
Such has been Kuldeep's form with the ball that he also found his way into India's squad for the first two Tests against Australia. It, however, will be very difficult for the left-arm wrist spinner to break into the XI. Especially after Ravindra Jadeja proved his fitness in a Ranji Trophy fixture. Unless, of course, India decide to field three spinners treating both Jadeja and Ashwin as noted all-rounders.
Former India left-arm spinner and former chairman of selectors Sunil Joshi said Kuldeep should find a place in the XI because of the kind of form he is in.
"I think so. One, because of his form - he's been good at picking wickets. As a former cricketer, I look more closely at the way he is taking wickets: a spinner getting [the batter] out through the gate bowled, caught at slip, stumped getting to the pitch of the ball, miscuing the ball and getting caught at mid-off, mid-on. These are the areas of dismissal that a spinner would love to take," Joshi told ESPNCricinfo.
Joshi said India should not look at spin-friendly conditions to try out Kuldeep against Australia.
"If Ashwin is our first option, and if Jadeja is not available, then it should be Kuldeep and Axar. If Jaddu is available and they are playing three spinners, Kuldeep should play. Don't look at the venues or whether our spinners will do well or not at them. Look at the way Kuldeep has picked up wickets. In whatever series he has played recently, whether it is red- or white-ball, his dismissals are in the range of [being caught] within the 30-yard circle. That is a great thing for a bowler because it shows you have been very consistent with your line and length. If India have to win against Australia, Kuldeep will play a major part," he added.
The Border-Gavaskar Trophy begins on February 9 in Nagpur.