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Kuldeep Yadav eager to break into India Test side after great show in limited-overs

Kuldeep Yadav, who has formed a wonderful wrist-spinning combination with Yuzvendra Chahal, believes the England series will be important for him looking ahead to the World Cup.

cricket Updated: Jun 24, 2018 10:33 IST
Abhishek Paul
Abhishek Paul
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Kuldeep Yadav,Yuzvendra Chahal,India cricket team
Kuldeep Yadav has been touted as the Indian team’s X-factor by Virat Kohli and he will be eager for a good show on his first tour to England. (AFP)

Last year in June, Kuldeep Yadav felt like any other fresh-faced youngster, excited to be part of the Indian dressing room for his maiden away tour.

The ODI series in West Indies was the start of Kuldeep’s wicket-taking spree. Captain Virat Kohli now calls him the ‘X-factor’ of the Indian team and will rely on his guile during the upcoming England tour.

In the last one year, the Chinaman has taken 39 wickets in 20 ODIs and has forged an effective wrist spinning combination with Yuzvendra Chahal.

Kuldeep is part of the ODI and T20I squads for England and Ireland. As he gears up for the shortest format, Kuldeep says he is also focused on getting a break into the Test squad.

“This is my first tour to England. Personally, this series will be very important for me. England will also host the World Cup in a year’s time, so that also makes this series more important,” Kuldeep said in an interview. “Obviously there are ODIs first but I am also focusing on Tests. For now, I have been planning more on how to bowl in Tests. Wickets may be a bit on the slower side in England, so I have been practicing for that. Before the ODI series in South Africa, I had given myself a target of picking 15 wickets, but for England I haven’t yet decided any numbers yet.”

The last time India toured England for a Test series in 2014, they lost 1-3. Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were the main spinners. It would be interesting to see if the selectors opt for Yadav in Tests.

“There is one month’s gap before the Test series. In this one month we will get used to the conditions. It’s not that we can’t do well in Tests in England. This is my first tour and I want to do well,” said Kuldeep.

India last won a Test series in England in 2007. However in ODIs, India tasted success in 2014, with MS Dhoni’s side winning 3-1.

England is high on confidence after drubbing Australia 4-0 in an ongoing ODI series, and are eyeing a clean-sweep. One of those victories included a world record score of 481/6.

“One should also see that Australia is not playing well. Their spinners are bowling fast and are not bowling at right places. If you pitch the ball in (the) right place, it will be difficult for any batsmen,” he said.

Yadav and Chahal shared 33 wickets between them in the away ODI series in South Africa. India captain Virat Kohli thinks the duo will give them the edge over the in-form England in ODIs.

“It’s important for wrist-spinners to have the backing of the team and captain,” he said.

First Published: Jun 24, 2018 10:33 IST