Kuldeep Yadav has been warming the bench for several months but former left-arm pacer Irfan Pathan said he is a “unique bowler” who can do well in the upcoming Test assignment against England, starting February 5 in Chennai.
It’s been over two years since Kuldeep Yadav last played a Test for India and a year since he last played for India in a T20I match. Despite senior spinner Ravichandran Ashwin injured and Ravindra Jadeja already ruled out, the management decided to hand a debut to back up net spinner Washington Sundar instead of Kuldeep Yadav who was in the squad.
Kuldeep Yadav Has Got Immense Talent And Will Be Raring To Go If Given An Opportunity: Irfan Pathan
Kuldeep Yadav ended the recent 2020/21 Australia tour with just one ODI and one practice game in Sydney. He picked 1 wicket conceding 57 runs in Canberra ODI and went wicketless in Tour game against Australia A.
Former pacer Irfan Pathan said that one doesn’t find left-arm wrist spinners every day, firmly backing Kuldeep Yadav and hoped that there will be a place for him in the Indian team for the Test-series against England.
“It is very important from the team management point of view, how they keep mind-set of a player, who is not playing. I am sure they must be doing a right job, and that’s why the guys, when we saw some of the youngsters, they came and played really well,” Pathan told PTI in an interaction.
“I am sure they must be supporting and backing Kuldeep Yadav because he has got immense talent. You don’t find left-arm wrist spinners on every-day-basis. He is a unique bowler. The guy is about 25-26 and this is where he is going to get maturity. Whenever he gets opportunity, first Test, second Test, whenever he will be raring to go and I am pretty sure that he will do well.”
Irfan Pathan cited history, while further making a case for Kuldeep Yadav to play against England,
“When it comes to England, look at the history, if you are a leg-spinner, you always have a chance of performing well, I just hope that whenever he plays, he does really well and he does,” added Pathan, who has played 29 Tests and 120 ODIs for India.
Kuldeep Yadav has so far played six Tests and picked 24 wickets. Asked about the combination of the series-opener, Irfan Pathan said fielding three spinners would not be a bad option, considering the nature of the Chennai pitch.
“It depends on the wickets but there is a high chance in Chennai they play three spinners because we see how Chennai pitch can really help the spinners with that extra bounce as well and the soil, which is very conducive for spin bowling,” he elaborated.
“India is such a good side that even if they have to play three fast bowlers, they will be ready to play, in any kind of pitch,” he said, adding that now there is more pronounced seam in the red ball as well, which can help both spinners and fast bowlers equally.
“But conditions which is helping, with dry pitches, you will definitely see three spinners playing,” he added.
Notably, India head coach Ravi Shastri had backed Kuldeep Yadav as the number one spinner in overseas Tests following India’s historic 2-1 series win in Australia in 2018-2019. Surprisingly, Kuldeep Yadav has not played Test cricket since then. Uncapped Axar Patel is also in the squad.
Irfan Pathan: Washington Sundar Can Be Played As An All Rounder As Finger Spinners Can Be Very Useful In Indian Conditions
Irfan Pathan also foresees a scenario where young Washington Sundar and Ravichandran Ashwin can play together in the four Test series, of which the final two Tests will be held in Ahmedabad.
“There could a chance because if you play Washington Sundar, you are not playing Washington Sundar just for pure ability for his bowling, you are playing him as an all-rounder. He bats really well and he can really do well as a spinner in India specially when the conditions are really helping the spinners and we have always seen wrist-spinners are important.”
“But on Indian pitches finger spinners can be very very useful, specially guys who can bowl fast-spin like (Ravindra) Jadeja. He (Sundar) can play a similar role even (though) he is an off-spinner, there could be a chance where you could see Ashwin, Washington Sundar and Kuldeep Yadav, these three guys playing,” the left-arm pacer added.
Irfan Pathan predicted a 2-1 win for India in the Test series.
“Definitely India will win the series, no doubt about that. England side has done really well, just recently in Sri Lanka, pitches are similar and for them Joe Root will be the key,” he added.
“Lot of people are talking about their spin department but I am really looking forward to see how their pace bowling department goes. Their quality fast bowlers, Jofra Archer, James Anderson, Stuart Board, Chris Woakes, if they stay fit for all the four Test matches, it would be a competitive series,” he said.
Joe Root currently has 8249 runs in 181 innings at an average of 49.39. Joe Root amassed 426 runs in four innings at an average of 106.50 including two centuries with a high score of 228 against Sri Lanka in 2 Tests.