It didn’t make a pretty sight when India’s spin ace Kuldeep Yadav was carted for 26 runs in an over by RCB’s Moeen Ali during Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019. Virat Kohli was the non-striker when the wrist-spinner was taken the cleaners.
After Kuldeep’s 3-wicket haul in the World Cup 2019 warm game against Bangladesh on Tuesday, Virat Kohli would be the happiest as well as the most relieved to see his destroyer-in-chief back amongst wickets.
Experts concur that Kuldeep Yadav’s return to form is one of the biggest gains for India from World Cup warm-ups.
“Kuldeep for some reason was sidelined for a long period of time in IPL. He is going to win you matches the day he bowls well. I am glad there was a smile on his face in the second game. He is a young kid learning his art and an important player for India,” Ajit Agarkar told India Today on sidelines of ESPN’s Sports-space launch in Dharavi.
Kuldeep’s IPL side, Kolkata Knight Riders didn’t have the patience to persist with him as he played only 9 matches this IPL season.
Ex-India spinner Murli Karthik too wasn’t a fan of KKR’s decision to bench Kuldeep but agreed he had issues. “As a spinner, you look at trends and the trend I saw in his bowling with his action was that he was tiring. The ball wasn’t fizzing the way it generally does. He bowls slower through the air and for him to get everything right, it wasn’t happening during IPL,” said Karthik.
“Even in the first warm up game in England (vs New zealand), the ball was sitting up. In England what happens is the wickets are quite the slow and if the ball doesn’t go off the surface, batsmen generally sit back and start playing you there,” he added.
Kuldeep’s returns in the Bangladesh warm-up match should give wheels to India’s World Cup campaign with Kul-Cha having wickets under their belt, thinks Karthik.
“For India to do well and again I have been repeating this, it’s going to be a case of the middle overs. Any team that’s going to be penetrative in middle overs, you will see totals not being that sizable and for that to happen, India need these two spinners to fire. They have been brilliant together, home and away.
“If they can find a place for Ravindra Jadeja so be it because he will add a lot in the field but I don’t know how they will manage with Hardik Pandya around. But Kuldeep and Chahal need to play. They can make a massive difference,” he said.