Kuldeep Yadav.
Kuldeep Yadav. Image Credit: X

For the last few games from the ‘super eight’ stage of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, India captain Rohit Sharma and the management have decided to go with Kuldeep Yadav, the Chainaman, in place of their pacer Mohammad Siraj, who was part of the playing eleven for the whole course of the competition during the group stage.

India came into the ‘super-eight’ stage with an unbeaten run, thanks to their three successive victories, over the Ireland side, the Pakistan team, and the co-host United States of America (USA), all at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York, while their only group game at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium Turf Ground in Lauderhill, Florida was washed-out against Canada.

The bowling was one of the reasons, behind the success of the team, given how brilliantly the three pacers- Arshdeep Singh, Jasprit Bumrah, and Mohammad Siraj, used the conditions in the US pretty well, using their variations and pace a lot.

‘Kuldeep Yadav’s role is not just to contain but take wickets’- Ravi Shastri

The moment India landed in the West Indies, the plan for them was to use Kuldeep Yadav on those surfaces which were already quite dried and slow, and given India was playing all of their games under the sun, it would get drier and slower, and dew won’t have an effect at all.

Also Read: Sanjay Manjrekar Reckons India Are Not Dependent On Virat Kohli In T20 World Cup 2024

In the very first game against Afghanistan at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, India decided to drop Siraj and went with Kuldeep in the eleven. By the time, he came into the attack, the team was in a good position with the opponents being at 47/3 in eight overs, chasing 182 runs.

His first ball was a no-ball as the batter- Gulbadin Naib took full enjoyment of the next delivery to nail it for a boundary as the UP-born went for 10 in his very first over. The second over from his was far better, as he handled the situation pretty well.

On the second ball of his second over, Kuldeep Yadav sent back Naib who looking to launch the ball only hit it in the air, as the wicket-keeper took a simple catch. The rhythm was still out of his reach it felt like. In the third consecutive over of the spell, Najibullah cracked him for a six over deep square leg, as that over went for nine.

Despite the hard-hitting, his figures of 1/20 in three overs looked quite good. He came to end his spell in the 17th over of the innings, as he was thumped over long-off by Mohammad Nabi, who got out on the very next. Kuldeep Yadav leaked one more boundary to return with 2/32 in his four overs.

In their second game of the round at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, Antigua, he was up against Bangladesh. They were depending on 197 runs as the Chainaman gave away only three off his very first over. Tanzid Hasan was trapped before the stumps, as the bowler was slowly getting his rhythm back. In his first three overs, Kuldeep Yadav gave away only 10 runs for two wickets, before picking up his third wicket of the spell in the form of Shakib Al Hasan.

Also Read: T20 World Cup 2024: Kuldeep Yadav Reveals Secret Behind Emerging As Kuldeep 2.0

Now the question stands whether India would still go with him at the Darren Sammy National Stadium in St Lucia against Australia, which has been a high-scoring ground.

‘I would think so. In the West Indies, definitely. You know you need that spinner, because his role is not just to contain (runs), but to take wickets in those middle overs, as he did today (against Bangladesh), or as he did against the game against Afghanistan.’ The former India head coach Ravi Shastri expressed in a chat. ‘So his role becomes extremely important. You can’t have all defense in the middle over of the innings. You need someone who can get you wickets.’

If India gets qualified for the semis, Kuldeep Yadav’s role would become more crucial against England in Guyana.