The duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav has bowled together in only two series so far, but their performances are enough to leave a lasting impression on the world. With the likes of Adil Rashid, Imran Tahir, Graeme Cremer and Rashid Khan showing that wrist spinners are here to stay, India took the bold call looking beyond their tried and tested pair of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, and the move has paid off well.
Throughout the series against Australia, the duo not only took wickets at regular intervals but also checked the flow of runs and as a result, the world champions rarely managed to finish their innings strongly despite being given good start by the top-order.
Kuldeep was India’s highest-wicket taker in the ODI series with seven wickets to his name including a hat-trick and was closely followed by Chahal who accounted for six batsmen. And such has been their performance that Ashwin and Jadeja have not been included in the squad one for the upcoming series against New Zealand. The duo will now be gunning for more success in the three-match series, starting October 22 and the team’s vice-captain Rohit Sharma has made it clear that the team relies heavily on the two spinners.
Speaking ahead of the series-opener in Mumbai, Rohit said Chahal and Kuldeep have grown in stature and now do not shy away from taking the decisions on the field.
“They’ve definitely grown from the last time they made their way into the team till now. I think there has been immense improvement in their confidence. They just go out there and do their thing and they are not afraid of making tactical changes,” said Rohit.
“They are not afraid to flight the ball and go for wickets, which is important in this format, especially because they bowl in middle overs. The grounds are not so big here, and sometimes you will be in two minds whether you want to flight the ball or restrict the opposition. But they understand the game,” he added. “And if they feel that they should not go for wickets, just try and restrict, bowl a few dot balls and create pressure, they are ready to do that as well.”
The star opener, who finished the series against Australia as the highest run-getter, further said the team ‘really rely’ on the two spinners to get the work done in the middle overs.
“For us as a team, we really rely on those two guys to do the job in the middle overs. And they have done exceedingly well in the last series. We saw that it was pretty evident that whenever the ball was given to them, they came up with some or the other tactical plan and got rid of their set batsman which is very important,” said Rohit.
“To get crucial breakthroughs in the middle overs is very important. They have done that and from here now, they will keep growing as individuals and as players also. The more matches they play their confidence will only grow. And that’s been pretty evident as we saw,” he added.
The 30-year old also said that Kuldeep and Chahal complement each other and share the tactics with each other which enhances their confidence.
“The best is, like I said, they complement each other. They share their tactics and what one feels about his bowling. And they have spoken about that I think. And they do that while they bowl. So it gives them confidence,” he said.
“So, in their bowling they are quite versatile. That’s something that I have noticed. And it will come only with confidence. And like I said, the more matches they play, they will keep growing as players,” he said.