The rise of Yuzvendra Chahal (L) and Kuldeep Yadav has pleased former Pakistan cricket team skipper Mohammad Hafeez.(AFP)
The rise of Yuzvendra Chahal (L) and Kuldeep Yadav has pleased former Pakistan cricket team skipper Mohammad Hafeez.(AFP)

Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal’s rise good for the game: Mohammad Hafeez

The rise of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal is tremendous for the game, according to former Pakistan cricket team skipper Mohammad Hafeez.
Hindustan Times, Dubai | By Sidharth Gulati
UPDATED ON FEB 26, 2018 09:09 AM IST

As much as Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan contributed to India’s dominance in the ODI series against South Africa with four centuries between them, it’s the wrist spin of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal that ensured a humiliating defeat for the hosts.

Their journey started in the away series against Sri Lanka last year, which Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team won 5-0. The duo rose through the ranks with splendid performances against Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

There were doubts whether they would be able to repeat their sub-continent heroics overseas, but all of them were put to rest as Kuldeep and Chahal shared 33 wickets between them and literally bamboozled the South African batsmen, helping India record their maiden bilateral ODI series in South Africa.

Praising India’s new wrist-spin duo, former Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez said that their growth is tremendous for the game. He also lauded fellow countryman and leg-spinner Shadab Khan but added that the 19-year-old still has a long way to go.

“They (leg-spinners) are always fascinating. Starting from Abdul Qadir; he used to bowl his googlies. It was a new thing in cricket and everybody loved that,” Hafeez, who has played 50 Tests, 200 ODIs and 81 T20 internationals, said in an interaction.

“Then it was Anil Kumble from India, Shane Warne from Australia and Mushtaq Ahmed from Pakistan performed splendidly.

“I think every team should have a leg-spinner because it gives you an X-Factor.

“Chahal, Kuldeep have done really well. Shadab Khan is fabulous but still has a lot to learn.”

Team in great shape

Meanwhile, Hafeez sounded confident about Pakistan’s chances at the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England, saying the Sarfraz Ahmed-led side possesses the ability to win the biggest prize in cricket.

Since winning the Champions Trophy last year, Pakistan’s Test and ODI form has seen a dip. While they were whitewashed 2-0 in a Test series against Sri Lanka in the UAE, the Kane Williamson-led New Zealand piled more misery on Pakistan by handing them a 5-0 loss in ODIs.

But Hafeez is unperturbed and feels there is no need to make massive changes.

“We are shaping up well. Everybody is clear of their role. Our main goal is to win outside Asia. Hopefully, we’ll be able to do that.

“To be honest, we miss a few bowlers who got injured. Like Usman Khan who bowled well against Sri Lanka. But still we have done well. Mohammad Amir has been good. Hasan Ali has been great. Faheem Ashraf is learning quickly. We have that spark in the bowling. It’s all about momentum,” he added.

Mohammad Hafeez, who plays for Peshawar Zalmi in the Pakistan Super League, said the PSL has become an international brand in a very short span.

“There is no doubt that it (PSL) has become a brand now. People across the world love to watch the PSL. It has produced a lot of competitive cricket and I’m sure this year will be no less.”

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