Curious case of Kuldeep Yadav: The China-man

Being a china-man, Kuldeep Yadav possesses one of the rear skills of world cricket. Hailing from a country like India, one would expect him to get much more chances in red-ball cricket than the grand total of 6 in the last 3 years, isn’t it?

So, what is the reason behind his lack of opportunities? Is it his lack of bowling skills? The stats: 24 wickets at 24-a-piece, and the SR of 41,2 definitely doesn’t suggest so. So, what is the main motive behind him being left out of playing XIs, in spite of traveling with the team every series? Let us focus on that one particular area, which has defined his ommissions. You may also look at that as possibly an improvement area, that can get him more games.

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Australian Exclusion

Shouldn’t he have been the part of playing XI in the last test of the 20-21 down-under series, where even the net-bowlers made it to the playing XI? By pure virtue of being a senior tweaker in the reserves, he could have made it to the playing XI, but for his batting skills.

When the team management sat down to look for Ashwin’s replacement, Kuldeep’s name must have been at the top of the list. However, the management was looking for a like-to-like replacement. To further emphasize, a player who can’t just bowl, but can bat for hours: the way Ashwin did in the previous test. That’s when the management must have turned the faces from Kuldeep’s name. Just consider Sundar’s vital contribution with the bat in the ultimate victory, and you’ll have your precise reason behind Kuldeep’s lack of opportunities.

The inclusion of Sundar in the Brisban test was an indication for Kuldeep to improve his batting skills if really wants to be part of a playing XI.

The Bigger Picture

Just look at the World Test Championship table; three of the top four teams are laden with the handy batting line-up till number 10. Unfortunately, the remaining one is India. Before I move ahead, let’s also remind ourselves that the country’s white-ball squad is facing the exact opposite –  the batsmen who can bowl some middle overs. I am kind of sure that the Indian team management is already addressing this area in their red-ball roadmap, if not the white-ball.

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Coming back to India’s batting depth, neither Ishant Sharma, Bumrah, Shami nor Umesh Yadav inspires batting confidence. So, a full-strength Indian test squad has at least two liabilities in that department, if not more. And Kuldeep’s inclusion in the XI will compound this already dipper hole.

Kuldeep may get few chances here and there when the team management doesn’t have anyone to go to. However, he will have to hone his batting skills quite a bit, if he wants to have consistent chances.

I really wish that Kuldeep Yadav will hone his batting skills sooner than the later, and will be part of India’s playing XI more regularly.

Stats Credit: ESPNCricinfo

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