Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav promise to leave England in a spin
Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav have vindicated the management’s faith in them and will look to make a splash in their first experience of playing in England when India face the hosts in the limited-overs series, starting with Tuesday’s T20 game.cricket Updated: Jul 02, 2018 16:55 IST
It was in England a year ago that the seeds of India’s spin transformation in limited-overs cricket were sown, following failure in the department that left Virat Kohli’s team hurting.
Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were attacked by Pakistan batsmen in the ICC Champions Trophy final which India lost heavily, convincing the team management that wrist spinners were the answer.
Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav have vindicated the management’s faith in them and will look to make a splash in their first experience of playing in England when India take on the hosts in the limited-overs series, starting with Tuesday’s T20 game.
So rapid has been their rise that Kohli dubbed them ‘X-factors’ that will deny England batsmen the freedom they enjoyed in beating Australia 6-0 in the recent limited-overs series. England dominated and smashed an ODI record 481. With two new balls in ODIs diminishing the scope for reverse-swing, wrist-spin will likely make the difference.
The India skipper has no doubts about the two spinners complementing the pace attack of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav and Co, with Jasprit Bumrah injured and out of the T20s.
“What has been the difference for us is the two X-factors in the middle overs. We have definitely been able to turn flat wickets into wicket-taking pitches because of the variety we have in the attack… I’m sure with our bowlers (spinners) in the middle-overs, when it is a full 50-overs game, you can’t go that hard for 20 overs from two bowlers in a row when you know they can get you out in any particular over. That is where the (batsmen’s attacking) mindset changes,” he said before the team left for the UK tour.
The value of wrist-spin has also been proved in IPL while Ashwin, out of the limited-overs squad since the low-key West Indies series that followed the Champions Trophy, validated it by adding leg-spin to his repertoire.
The England series will be a dress rehearsal for the 2019 World Cup with pitch conditions likely to be similar. England batsmen targeted Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon and left-arm orthodox Ashton Agar. But Chahal and Kuldeep have warmed up nicely in the 2-0 T20 series win over Ireland.
They were on top when India won their first limited-overs series in South Africa early this year. Kuldeep took 17 wickets at an economy rate of 4.62 and Chahal 16 scalps at 5.02 in the 5-1 win in ODIs.
England have thrived on the big-hitting Jos Buttler, buoyed by a successful IPL stint, Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow. Chahal and Kuldeep will be a different ball game and their accuracy and not letting batsmen read variations early will be a challenge.
Their record has been superb. Since Kuldeep’s debut in the West Indies last summer, India have won 15 of the 20 ODIs he has played in, taking 34 of 39 wickets at an average of 18.67 in those victories. He has helped India win eight of his 10 T20s, taking 18 wickets in them.
Chahal, who has promised to bring a second googly to the England battle, has helped India win 19 of the 23 games he has played in with all but one of his 43 wickets coming in a winning cause.
First Published: Jul 02, 2018 16:27 IST