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IPL 2021: Ravindra Jadeja to join CSK camp today. (CSK/Twitter)
IPL 2021: Ravindra Jadeja to join CSK camp today. (CSK/Twitter)
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2018 Test Against England Was Turning Point In My Career: Ravindra Jadeja

Ravindra Jadeja, the Indian all-rounder says that the fifth Test against England in 2018 “changed everything” for him and gave him a lot of confidence, particularly as in those days he was struggling and wasn’t an automatic starter in all three formats for the Indian team.

Ravindra Jadeja, now an automatic choice in the Indian XI, scored a superb 86 not out off 156 balls while batting at No.8, as India chased England’s first-innings 332. India had lost six wickets for 160 and was in dire straits when he came to bat. Despite his knock, India conceded the first-innings lead and lost the match by 188 runs, and the five-Test series 1-4 to England. Ravindra Jadeja, however, emerged triumphantly.

Ravindra Jadeja. (AFP Photo)
Ravindra Jadeja. (AFP Photo)

Ravindra Jadeja: 2018 Test Against England Changed Performance And Confidence

This was the time when India played a lot of Tests on foreign soil where conditions don’t aid spin bowling that much, while in ODIs Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav were preferred to the left-arm orthodox from Saurashtra.

“That Test changed everything for me, complete game — my performance, my confidence, everything. When you score in English conditions against the best bowling attack, it greatly impacts your confidence. It makes you feel your technique is good enough to score anywhere in the world,” he told The Indian Express.

“Later, Hardik Pandya got injured and I made my ODI comeback. From then on, my game has been going well, touchwood.”

Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja (Image Credit: Twitter)

India’s prominent contributor with bat and ball, Ravindra Jadeja suffered a dislocation in his left thumb in the 3rd Sydney Test versus Australia. The injury ruled him out from England series and the 4th Test against Australia. Notably, Ravindra Jadeja had earlier missed the T20I series with a concussion and a hamstring injury.

There were doubts over Ravindra Jadeja’s form at the start of IPL 2021, considering he was out of competitive action for more than 2 months after suffering a finger injury. The all-rounder has been in fine form for CSK in IPL 2021. The India all-rounder has hit 131 runs in 7 matches, averaging a staggering 131 and striking at close to 160. With the ball, he has picked up 6 wickets and has conceded at less than 7 runs per over before IPL was suspended.

Ravindra Jadeja Thought About How To Make A Comeback As He Wasn’t Getting Enough Opportunities To Prove Himself

Ravindra Jadeja recalled his ordeal when he was away from the Indian team, before that breakthrough knock at the Oval. The all-rounder is an automatic selection in all three formats of the game but things were not so glittery 2 years ago when he was finding it difficult to even sleep. In the Tests, Ravichandran Ashwin was playing ahead of him.

“Honestly, those one-and-a-half years were filled with sleepless nights. Through that phase, I remember I would be up till 4-5 am. I would be thinking about what to do, how am I going to bounce back? I couldn’t sleep. I would be lying down but would remain awake,” he said.

Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja / AFP PHOTO / ISHARA S. KODIKARA

“I was in the Test squad but not playing as we played a lot overseas. I wasn’t playing ODIs. I wasn’t playing domestic too as I would be traveling with the Indian team though not playing. I wasn’t getting any opportunity to prove myself. I would keep thinking about how I am going to come back.”

Ravindra Jadeja, 32, is one of the best fielders in the world at present and, along with his left-arm spin, besides batting, provides flexibility to the Indian team. He has so far played 51 Tests, 168 ODIs, and 50 T20 Internationals.

IPL 2021: Ravindra Jadeja to join CSK camp today. (CSK/Twitter)
IPL 2021: Ravindra Jadeja to join CSK camp today. (CSK/Twitter)
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Ravindra Jadeja’s Emergence As An All-rounder Makes It Difficult For Kuldeep Yadav To Feature In Playing 11

Ravindra Jadeja’s emergence as the country’s premier all-rounder and lead spinner in white-ball cricket means either one of Kuldeep Yadav or Yuzvendra Chahal get to feature in the Indian playing XI in white-ball cricket.

India’s left-arm chinaman leg-spinner Kuldeep Yadav understands how difficult it is for the team management to pick between the trio of himself, Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravindra Jadeja in limited-overs cricket due to the latter’s all-round abilities.

Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja / AFP PHOTO / ISHARA S. KODIKARA

Ravindra Jadeja Brings A Lot Of Depth In The Batting As It’s Tough For Team Management To Choose Between Him And Kuldeep – Chahal Duo

Ravindra Jadeja’s emergence as India’s premier all-rounder and lead spinner in white-ball cricket means either one of Kuldeep Yadav or Yuzvendra Chahal get to feature in the playing XI nowadays. In Ravindra Jadeja’s absence due to injury, Kuldeep Yadav played the first two ODIs against England in March but went wicketless after which he was dropped for the final game of the series.

“It depends on what the team wants. Team combination matters a lot and I personally feel Ravindra Jadeja brings a lot of depth in the batting. He scores both with bat and ball. So, it is always tough to choose between him and us,” Kuldeep told Crictracker.

Yuzvendra Chahal (left) and Kuldeep Yadav have been India's premier spin pairing for the last two years. | Ron Gaunt / BCCI / SPORTZPICS
Yuzvendra Chahal (left) and Kuldeep Yadav have been India’s premier spin pairing for the last two years. | Ron Gaunt / BCCI / SPORTZPICS

Kuldeep Yadav argued that he hasn’t got much game time and hasn’t been included regularly in the playing XI which is why it has been difficult for him to regain his confidence and rhythm.

“I just think I should be playing more games because when you don’t do that, you tend to lack both rhythm and confidence. While being in regular touch, you are always high. Yes, the last two years were difficult and very different for me.

“I didn’t get a chance due to the team combination and sometimes you need to sacrifice your spot as well. However, some games didn’t go in my favour but you always need to work hard and keep the momentum going, your time will probably come,” Kuldeep said.

The chinaman spinner didn’t perform up to expectations for India having picked only 6 wickets in 2020 bowling 50 overs in ODIs averaging above 50. He hasn’t picked up a wicket in 2021 in ODIs despite bowling 19 overs. He featured in only one ODI in Australia and one Test and two ODIs against England without any noteworthy performances. The former wicketkeeper-batsman MS Dhoni was an integral reason behind the success of ‘Kul-Cha’.

Kuldeep Yadav: Team Management Has Been Very Supportive

Notably, the 26-year-old chinaman pointed out how the Indian captain and coaches have been providing him support throughout the tough times.

“Team management has been very supportive in these times. The best thing is that they always tell me about things happening in the team or what they want right now. Virat and Ravi Bhai also keep talking to me regularly and tell me the things needed in the match. Bharat Arun has also been supportive alongside management,” Kuldeep said.

Kuldeep Yadav
Kuldeep Yadav Photo Credit: AP

He played only one out of the 4 Tests against England but did not get a place in the squad for the T20I series. The 26-year-old chinaman spinner finally played the 2nd Test against England after the one against Australia in January 2019.  He debuted in all three formats in 2017 but has only played 7 Tests, 63 ODIs, and 21 T20Is, picking 26, 105, and 39 scalps respectively.

Kuldeep Yadav also didn’t feature in a single game in the first half of the IPL 2021 and is all but certain to sit out the T20 World Cup. Hence, the upcoming tour of Sri Lanka, which will feature most of India’s fringe players, will be critical for him to try and win back his place in India’s first XI.

Kuldeep Yadav played 9 T20Is in 2018 and featured in just 4 T20Is in the last two years (2 T20Is in 2019 and 2 T20Is in 2020) despite boasting a stunning average of 13.76 in T20Is.

Kuldeep Yadav
Kuldeep Yadav Photo Credit: AP
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Kuldeep Yadav Opens Up About 1st Test Scalp, Recent Form, His Axe In IPL 2021 And 100 ODI Wickets

Kuldeep Yadav has the credit of clinching the fastest 100 ODI wickets (in terms of innings) for India as a spinner. Hailing from Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, Kuldeep Yadav has surely made a case for himself in his brief career so far.

The game of cricket has always struck the chord of fans’ hearts owing to its enthralling variations and Kuldeep Yadav added more to it. Being the first Chinaman in the Indian mix, not only he brought variety to the table but also ruled record charts with his sheer finesse.

Kuldeep Yadav of India. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Kuldeep Yadav of India. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Kuldeep Yadav Cherishes First Test Wicket And Feels Should Play More Games

Having marked his debut across formats in 2017, he became the second Indian and third spinner (overall) to clinch fifer in all the formats of the game. The saga of his masterclass doesn’t cease here as on January 17, 2020, during the second ODI against Australia, the 26-year-old became the fastest spinner (in terms of innings) for India to clock 100 ODI wickets.

Talking in the present context, the Indian spinner seems to have hit a little rough patch in his career where he has been warming the bench to grab his rightful chance. The exceptional bench strength of India and the correct team combination have denied many cricketers their share of chances including Kuldeep Yadav.

“It is always a special feeling to get the debut cap and when you take your first wicket. It was a very special moment for me and I was happy. If you watch the ball, it was a flipper and I set him with a flighted one and I knew there was a chance for an lbw or caught behind but it went straight to Ajinkya Rahane. Yes, it was a great moment for me,” on first Test wicket of David Warner

“Team combination matters a lot and I personally feel Jadeja brings a lot of depth in the batting. He scores both with bat and ball. So, it is always tough to choose between him and us,” on  Yuzvendra Chahal’s statement that Ravindra Jadeja’s comeback to all formats resulted in Kul-Cha not getting enough chances together in XI.

“I just think I should be playing more games because when you don’t do that, you tend to lack both rhythm and confidence.Yes, the last two years were difficult and very different for me. However, some games didn’t go in my favour but you always need to work hard and keep the momentum going, your time will probably come, ‘ on reassessing past 2 years performance.

“Team management has been very supportive in these times. Virat and Ravi Bhai also keep talking to me regularly and tell me the things needed in the match. Bharat Arun has also been supportive alongside management,”on support

“I feel everyone is good when they are in form so there is no particular batter.David Warner’s wicket remains my most memorable one, my first Test wicket,” on cherishing 1st Test scalp.

Yuzvendra Chahal & Kuldeep Yadav. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Yuzvendra Chahal & Kuldeep Yadav. (Photo Source: Twitter)

“These things will happen and come into your life often as a youngster and you need to face this challenge. Just keep working hard as you don’t know when the next opportunity arrives and when the team needs you, you have to put your hand up. You need to remain very positive and try not to complain about things,” on dealing with insecurity and depression.

“You always want to play cricket, whether it’s international or domestic. As long as I am getting opportunities to play games, I will be very happy,” on playing domestic cricket to gain confidence.

“I have got a fine gym at home, so I am working on my fitness and doing some shadow bowling. I am really looking forward to the Lanka series and I will be fully prepared before the tour,” on working hard for Lanka tour.

However, the Chinaman would be sure and adamant enough to cement his place with the national team in near future. Kuldeep Yadav also didn’t feature in a single game in the first half of the IPL 2021 and is all but certain to sit out the T20 World Cup. Hence, the upcoming tour of Sri Lanka, which will feature most of India’s fringe players, will be critical for him to try and win back his place in India’s first XI.

Kuldeep Yadav Shocked Not To Get Any Games For KKR In IPL 2021

With spinners like Sunil Narine, Shakib Al Hasan, Harbhajan Singh, Pawan Negi, and Varun Chakravarthy in the ranks of KKR, it remains to be seen whether the 26-year-old Chinaman spinner Kuldeep Yadav will get enough chances in IPL 2021 to prove his doubters wrong.

“It’s hard to say that I mean. Sometimes you feel you are ready to play but management doesn’t feel so. They think someone is better than you and they also think about the combination. These things happen in franchise cricket a lot. I thought I was ready to play in Chennai in IPL 2021 but it didn’t happen and it was shocking,” on KKR benching him.

Kuldeep Yadav With Dinesh Karthik-KKR. (Photo: IANS)
Kuldeep Yadav With Dinesh Karthik-KKR. (Photo: IANS)

“The crowd from Kanpur and Lucknow is really excited to see more games at Ekana. Once the COVID-19 crisis is over, we may get a lot of games here. Also, T20 World Cup will be played in India so we might see some games at Ekana,” on hometown Lucknow’s Ekana getting games.

” I always think of breaking or creating records whenever I am on the field and looking forward to my another 100 soon,” on being fastest spinner to clock 100 ODI scalps.

He played only 14 games in the last two seasons for KKR and his average was above 70 in both editions which is extremely poor by standards unlike his average in IPL 2016-2018 which was less than 30. In ODIs, he averaged 17.78 with the ball in 2018 picking as many as 45 wickets in 19 games but has picked only 6 scalps in 7 ODIs in 2020-21. In T20Is his average is an extraordinary 13.77 but he has got limited opportunities.

Ravichandran Ashwin last played a T20I match way back in 2017 against West Indies in Kingston. In the last 10 T20Is that he has played, Yuzvendra Chahal has taken 9 wickets. On the other hand, Kuldeep Yadav played 9 T20Is in 2018 and featured in just 4 T20Is in the last two years (2 T20Is in 2019 and 2 T20Is in 2020).
Kuldeep Yadav
Kuldeep Yadav (Image Credit: Twitter)
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Kuldeep Yadav Got First Dose Of Covid-19 Vaccine At Hospital Not Lawn: Himanshu Gupta

Kuldeep Yadav got his vaccination on May 15 and posted a picture of himself getting an injection while sitting on a chair on a lawn. The 26-year-old also urged his followers to get the injection at the earliest in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kanpur city magistrate Himanshu Gupta has clarified that the wrist-spinner got the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a private hospital, contrary to the viral picture of him taking the jab in a guest house lawn. Mr. Himanshu Gupta said on Wednesday that the controversial photo was just a social media gimmick.

Kuldeep Yadav Receives A Dose Of COVID-19 Vaccine
Kuldeep Yadav got a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.© Kuldeep Yadav/Twitter

Kuldeep Yadav Got The Vaccine Dose At Hospital As Clarified By Kanpur Magistrate Himanshu Gupta

However, the post immediately courted controversy as many fans questioned how Kuldeep Yadav got the injection in the unusual outdoor setting. It was alleged the spinner was administered his vaccine at a place other than the hospital where he booked a slot.

A PTI report also stated that the photo was from the Kanpur Nagar Nigam guest house, adding that the spinner had booked a vaccination slot at Jageshwar Hospital in Govind Nagar. This prompted the administration to open an urgent probe into the matter.

Magistrate Himanshu Gupta submitted his report on Wednesday in which he categorically mentioned that Kuldeep Yadav got the vaccine dose at Jagdeshwar hospital only. The report also claimed the wrist spinner’s name was 136th on the official register for entries kept at the vaccination center.

Explaining the controversy, Himanshu Gupta said the photo was a gimmick and the spinner uploaded it at the behest of his friends because it is the rage these days.

Kuldeep Yadav Wasn’t Considered For Test Tour Of England

Coming to his cricketing career, Kuldeep Yadav has received a huge setback after getting dropped for the Test tour of England. The spinner was part of India’s recent Test series against the same opposition, although he didn’t play in most of those games.

Kuldeep Yadav. [Photo: Twitter]
Kuldeep Yadav. [Photo: Twitter]
He also didn’t feature in a single game in the first half of the IPL 2021 and is all but certain to sit out the T20 World Cup. Hence, the upcoming tour of Sri Lanka, which will feature most of India’s fringe players, will be critical for him to try and win back his place in India’s first XI.

He played only 14 games in the last two seasons for KKR and his average was above 70 in both editions which are extremely poor by standards unlike his average in IPL 2016-2018 which was less than 30. In ODIs too he averaged a mere 17.78 with the ball in 2018 picking as many as 45 wickets in 19 games but has picked only 6 scalps in 7 ODIs in 2020-21. In T20Is his average is an extraordinary 13.77 but he has got limited opportunities.

Against England, the out-of-form left-arm spinner went wicketless in the two ODI games. In the first ODI, he was hit for 68 runs in 9 overs. In the 2nd ODI, Kuldeep Yadav was hammered for 84 runs in 10 overs. The chinaman spinner has only played 7 ODIs from January 2020 for India. He wasn’t even a regular in the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) squad for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 campaign.

Brisbane Test: India beat Australia by 3 wickets at Gabba to win series 2-1, retain Border-Gavaskar Trophy Image Source : AP IMAGE
Brisbane Test: India beat Australia by 3 wickets at Gabba to win series 2-1, retain Border-Gavaskar Trophy Image Source : AP IMAGE
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India Have Capable Players Who Can Adapt In Any Conditions, Says Reetinder Singh Sodhi

Reetinder Singh Sodhi, former Indian cricketer has opined that Virat Kohli’s Team India can defeat New Zealand in the finale of the World Test Championship as it has players who can adapt to any conditions.

Virat Kohli-led India will face New Zealand in the finale of the World Test Championship (WTC), which begins on May 18 in Southampton. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced a strong 20-man squad for the encounter, apart from four reserves.

Reetinder Singh Sodhi
Reetinder Singh Sodhi. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Reetinder Singh Sodhi: India Can Win In Adverse Situations As They Have Capable Players Who Can Adapt

Meanwhile, former Indian cricketer Reetinder Singh Sodhi has opined that Virat Kohli’s Team India can defeat New Zealand in the finale of the inaugural World Test Championship as it has capable players who can adapt to any conditions and play well in adverse situations.

While speaking to India News, Reetinder Singh Sodhi said, “The conditions will be adverse. The match is not in India, it is in England. But when we talk about Team India’s form, the way we play in adverse situations, these are not different conditions for us. We have players who can adapt. We have capable bowlers; our batting is fantastic. If we talk about our slip catching in Test matches, that is also very good.”

Indian test team[photo: Twitter]
Indian test team[photo: Twitter]
The former cricketer highlighted that the current Indian team does not collapse under pressure. He added that if they play to their potential, they will win the inaugural edition of the WTC.

“If we talk about a few years back, we used to come under some pressure, we used to face some difficulties, but if we talk about this team and their present form, about the history Team India, created on the Australia tour, there is nothing much to worry about. If India plays to their potential, the World Test Championship final will definitely be ours,” signed off Sodhi.

India and New Zealand qualified for the WTC final after finishing as the top-two teams in the inaugural edition which started after the ICC World Cup in August 2019. India won 12 out of the 17 Tests they played during this time period while New Zealand registered 7 victories out of 11.

Virat Kohli-led India Will Pay Against The Kiwis In WTC Final In England Before A 5 Match Test Series Against England

Team India will face New Zealand in the ICC World Test Championship final in Southampton from June 18 and then play 5 Tests against hosts England between August 4 and September 14 in Nottingham, London, Leeds, and Manchester. BCCI announced a 20-member Indian squad for June’s ICC World Test Championship final against New Zealand in Southampton. The same squad will then face hosts England in the subsequent five-match Test series in August-September.

The biggest additions in the squad are that of fast bowler Mohammed Shami and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who has been out of action from international cricket for a long time due to their respective injuries. All-rounder Hardik Pandya, opener Prithvi Shaw, seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and left-arm leg-spinner Kuldeep Yadav are the major names that are missing from the squad.

Mohammed Shami, Ravindra Jadeja | Photo - IANS/AP |
Mohammed Shami, Ravindra Jadeja | Photo – IANS/AP |

Mohammed Shami last played for India in the Day-Night Test against Australia in Adelaide (December 2020) after which a broken arm forced him to return home for recovery and recuperation. Ravindra Jadeja also got injured on the Australian tour, fracturing his thumb in the third Test in Sydney in January this year. Abhimanyu Easwaran, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, and Arzan Nagwaswalla will be the standby players on the tour.

India’s squad: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (Captain), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), R. Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohd. Shami, Md. Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, KL Rahul (subject to fitness clearance), Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper; subject to fitness clearance).

Standby players: Abhimanyu Easwaran, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, Arzan Nagwaswalla

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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Rahul Dravid Reckons India Can Play Both Ravichandran Ashwin And Ravindra Jadeja In The Playing XI

Rahul Dravid, the former Indian skipper believes Virat Kohli’s touring team has the balance to field both Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja together in the playing XI.

Former India captain Rahul Dravid believes that India’s squad is balanced and can feature both the spin all-rounders in the playing XI throughout the course of the upcoming England Tests.

Rahul Dravid
Rahul Dravid – K. MURALI KUMAR

Rahul Dravid: India Clear About The Kind Of Balance They Want In Their Squad

Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have been India’s star performers in Test cricket as the spin duo has dismantled daunting opposition line-ups, especially during India’s home seasons in recent years.

However, it becomes tougher for the Virat Kohli-led team management to play both Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja when India tour overseas, with the pitch offering seamers more assistance than the spinners.

“It does seem balanced. It’s a 20-member squad. The only other one who could have merited selection would’ve been Kuldeep Yadav, but he’s fallen away over the last little bit. Also, with the kind of recent performances from Axar Patel, Ravindra Jadeja, and Washington Sundar, they’re clear about the kind of balance they want in the squad.”

Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin AFP
Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin AFP

“With both Ashwin and Jadeja adding value with the bat and having like-for-like replacements in Axar and Washy, they’re clear about the direction they want to take. It lengthens their batting and all four finger spinners here allow them to do that. The make-up of the squad tells me they know their best XI even before they leave from here.”

Former India captain Rahul Dravid opines that Team India can include both Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in its playing eleven on the tour of England, which comprises of the World Test Championship final against New Zealand and a 5-Test series versus England. India’s eleven in overseas Tests mostly has featured either one of the spinners. However, Rahul Dravid reckons since both the players add immense batting depth and are good enough to be the first-choice spinner, Virat Kohli can play both together alongside three pacers.

Rahul Dravid: India Has Been Given The Best All-Round Balance With The Way Ravindra Jadeja And Ravichandran Ashwin Have Been Batting At The Moment

According to Rahul Dravid, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin can fulfill the role of India’s first-choice spinners and all-rounders in England as well.

“Yeah, why not (Ashwin and Jadeja in XI)? I mean, India has had success with that kind of line-up, and especially with the way Ashwin and Jadeja have been batting at the moment, it gives them the best all-round balance.

“Once Hardik Pandya couldn’t bowl, India didn’t have anyone for that seam-bowling allrounder’s slot. If it’s a good summer and if it gets dry and pitches turn in England as well, India have the option of playing two really good spinners.”

Axar Patel | Pankaj Nangia/ Sportzpics for BCCI
Axar Patel | Pankaj Nangia/ Sportzpics for BCCI

“If India wins a couple of good tosses, India will have two really good spinners. It can turn in the UK. They’ll be wary of starting with pitches too damp and too green because of India’s pace-bowling attack. So they’ll have to prepare good wickets, and good wickets in England, from my experience of playing there, the sun comes out and if you don’t water the wicket for five days, days four and five, it can turn.”

Ajinkya Rahane in the Australia Tests – Melbourne and Sydney – played both the spinners together. Regarding the 20 man squad for WTC Final and England Tests, there was also no place for all-rounder Hardik Pandya and wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav either, with Axar Patel being named as the third spinner after his heroics in the home series against England.

Axar Patel, the left-arm spinner took his series tally against England at home to 27 wickets. In his debut Test series against England, he picked 27 scalps to finish behind Ravichandran Ashwin (32) in the leading wicket-takers list.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar (AP Photo)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (AP Photo)
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Aakash Chopra Felt Surprised By Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s Omission In 20 Man Test Squad

Aakash Chopra, former Indian opener-turned-commentator feels it is ‘little surprising’ to not see pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s name in India’s WTC final and England Tests 20 man squad.

On Friday (May 7), the BCCI announced a 20-man squad for the Virat Kohli-led Team India’s forthcoming international assignments starting with the ICC World Test Championship final — against New Zealand in mid-June — followed by a five-match Test series against England, in the United Kingdom.

Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra Surprised By Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s Omission For WTC Final And 5 Tests Against England As He Is An Asset There

While the regulars like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Rishabh Pant, and Mohammed Shami made the cut, all-rounders Ravindra Jadeja and Hanuma Vihari returned after prolonged injuries.

On the other hand, youngsters such as Shubman Gill, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Washington Sundar, and Axar Patel also were included after impressive performances in the recent Test series against Australia and England, but the list didn’t feature swing king Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s last Test appearance came in early 2018. Since then, regular injuries have dented his progress but he remains a part of the limited-overs setup. Somehow, he has lost the team management’s faith when it comes to the longest format, mainly due to many other resources being available and also in order to manage his workload.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Bhuvneshwar Kumar[photo: Twitter]
Nonetheless, the former Indian opener-turned-commentator Aakash Chopra reviewed India’s WTC final and England Tests squad and remained surprised with Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s exclusion in English conditions which favours swing bowling.

“Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s name not being there is a little surprising from my point of view. It is possible he might not have gotten fit till the WTC final or you may not have wanted to take a chance with him,” said Aakash Chopra on his Youtube channel.

He further opined, “But if there are five Test matches in England and you have a bowler like Bhuvi bowling at his peak, you can surely play him two or three of the five-Test matches. That’s what I would be thinking that if I get a bowler like Bhuvi in those conditions, he is an asset.”

“But his name is not there for a series that starts in August and ends in September, there are five Test matches. When we talk about the huge squads, if he is fit, then why not Bhuvneshwar Kumar. You might also be thinking the same,” concluded Chopra.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar has played 21 Tests picking 63 scalps averaging 26.10. He did well in the England tour in 2014 picking 19 scalps and his career-best figures of 6/82 came at Lord’s in that series. He last played a Test in January 2018 against and in South Africa.

Aakash Chopra: Kuldeep Yadav’s Omission Hard While Hardik Pandya Isn’t Ready For Long Spells In Tests

Aakash Chopra had further termed chinaman wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav’s omission as a ‘little hard’ whereas he made a bold claim about all-rounder Hardik Pandya missing out. The 43-year-old believes Hardik Pandya won’t feature in the Test line-up for a long as nowadays he isn’t bowling a lot even in limited-overs and isn’t ready for delivering long spells with the red cherry in Tests.

Hardik Pandya Image Source : GETTY
Hardik Pandya Image Source: GETTY

KL Rahul, who had a recent appendicitis surgery, and Wriddhiman Saha, who tested positive for Covid-19, have both been named in the 20-man squad, both subject to clearing their fitness tests. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya and Prithvi Shaw are among those who continued to miss out on the Test squad.

Among bowlers, Navdeep Saini and Kuldeep Yadav are two notable absentees from the squad. Among standby players, Arzan Nagwaswalla, a bowler from Gujarat, has been named for the first time.

Squad: Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane (VC), Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (WK), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav

KL Rahul and Wriddhiman Saha subject to fitness

Standby players: Abhimanyu Easwaran, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, Arzan Nagwaswalla

Robin Uthappa
Robin Uthappa (Image Credit: Twitter)
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Benched XI Of The IPL 2021 Which Can Beat Any Team In The Tournament

IPL 2021 managed to entertain cricket fans to a great extent. However, the tournament was unfortunately suspended after several players tested positive for Covid-19. BCCI suspended IPL 2021 for the safety of players, support staff, and participants of the tournament. Before its suspension, IPL 2021 witnessed 29 matches.

Many players did not get a chance to play in IPL 2021. They were benched by their teams in all the games they played in the tournament. However, some players among these benched players have a lot of talent and they could form a great team.

Here we will look at the 11 best players of IPL 2021 who did not play a single match in IPL 2021. We will talk about 11 benched players of IPL 2021 who can make a strong team that will have the capability to beat any team.

Benched XI Of IPL 2021 Which Can Beat Any Team In The Tournament

Robin Uthappa

Robin Uthappa
Robin Uthappa (Image Credit: Twitter)

Robin Uthappa was picked by Chennai Super Kings ahead of IPL 2021 in a trade deal with Rajasthan Royals. He did not get a chance to play in the 7 matches of Chennai Super Kings in IPL 2021. However, Robin Uthappa is a great option for an opener.

Chennai Super Kings wanted to give enough opportunities to Ruturaj Gaikwad due to which Uthappa had to warm the bench. The right-handed batsman Uthappa has a great experience in IPL as he has played since the first season in IPL 2008. In 189 matches, Uthappa has scored 4607 runs which include 24 half-centuries.

Jason Roy

Jason Roy
Jason Roy (Image Credit: Twitter)

Jason Roy was another player who did not play any match in IPL 2021. He was unsold in IPL 2021 auction but Sunrisers Hyderabad later picked him as a replacement for Mitchell Marsh. Jason Roy can be a great option for an opener in the team.

His aggressive batting style was quite visible during the ODI and T20I series against India in March. The England cricketer was in great form and thus is a brilliant option for an opener. In 8 matches in the Indian Premier League so far, Roy has scored 179 runs. He played a spectacular knock of unbeaten 91 runs in IPL 2018.

Mandeep Singh

Mandeep Singh
Mandeep Singh (Image Credit: Twitter)

Mandeep Singh will be an excellent batsman at no.3 batting position. Mandeep Singh was part of Punjab Kings in IPL 2021 but did not feature in any match. In 104 matches in IPL so far, Mandeep Singh has scored 1659 runs. He has also smashed 6 half-centuries. He will be a great batsman in the team of benched players of IPL 2021.

Sarfaraz Khan

Sarfaraz Khan
Sarfaraz Khan (Image Credit: Twitter)

Sarfaraz Khan was part of Punjab Kings in IPL 2021 but was benched in all 8 matches of the team. He can be a great batsman in the team of benched players of IPL 2021. Sarfaraz Khan is a hard-hitting batsman who will be a great batsman at the middle-order. In 38 IPL matches, the right-handed batsman has scored 441 runs which include 1 fifty.

Sam Billings

Sam Billings
Sam Billings (Image Credit: Twitter)

Sam Billings will be a great option for wicket-keeper. Sam Billings was part of Delhi Capitals in IPL 2021 but wasn’t picked up in any game as the skipper Rishabh Pant took the wicketkeeper’s role in every game. Delhi Capitals bought Sam Billings for Rs. 2 crores during IPL 2021 auction. So far, Sam Billings has played 22 matches in the Indian Premier League and scored 334 runs. He has also hit 3 fifties.

Krishnappa Gowtham

Krishnappa Gowtham
Krishnappa Gowtham (Image Credit: Twitter)

Chennai Super Kings bought Krishnappa Gowtham for Rs. 9.25 crores during IPL 2021 auction making him the costliest Indian player in the auction.

However, Chennai Super Kings did not include him in the playing 11 in any of the 7 matches they played. Maybe CSK had planned to use him at a later stage during the tournament. Krishnappa Gowtham is an incredible choice for an all-rounder. In 24 matches in IPL so far, Gowtham has scored 186 runs and scalped 13 wickets.

Kuldeep Yadav

Kuldeep Yadav
Kuldeep Yadav (Image Credit: Twitter)

Kuldeep Yadav was part of the Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2021 but did not play in any match in the tournament. Kuldeep Yadav will be a brilliant choice for the spinner in the team. The left-arm spinner Yadav has played 45 matches in IPL so far and grabbed 40 wickets. He has also played international matches so has a good experience to bowl against top-class international batsmen

Piyush Chawla

Piyush Chawla
Piyush Chawla (Image Credit: Twitter)

Piyush Chawla was bought by Mumbai Indians in IPL 2021 auction but the team did not feature him in any of the 7 matches. This is because spinner Rahul Chahar was doing a great job for Mumbai Indians. Piyush Chawla will be a great option for the 2nd spinner in the team of benched players of IPL 2021.

Since IPL 2008, Chawla has played 164 matches in the Indian Premier League and scalped 156 wickets. He also knows batting a little so can also play a cameo with the bat if the need arises.

Anrich Nortje

IPL 2021, Anrich Nortje
Anrich Nortje (Image Credit: Twitter)

Anrich Nortje was part of Delhi Capitals in IPL 2021. The right-arm pacer Nortje did not play any games for Delhi Capitals in IPL 2021. Delhi Capitals coach Ricky Ponting had said that the team wants to use him during the later stage of the tournament.

Nortje was incredible in his debut season in IPL 2020, where he scalped 22 wickets in 16 matches. He is will be a great pacer to attack the opposition batsmen.

Lockie Ferguson

Lockie Ferguson
Lockie Ferguson (Image Credit: Twitter)

Lockie Ferguson was part of Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2021 but the team benched the New Zealand pacer in all the 7 matches they played. Lockie Ferguson will be a great option for the pacer in the team. So far, Lockie Ferguson has played 14 matches in IPL and picked 11 wickets. He has a brilliant pace attack in bowling and has the ability to trouble opposition batsmen.

Umesh Yadav

Umesh Yadav
Umesh Yadav (Image Credit: Twitter)

Umesh Yadav was bought by Delhi Capitals in IPL 2021 but the Indian pacer warmed the bench in all 8 matches. With his international experience, Umesh Yadav will be a great choice for the pacer in the team. Since IPL 2010, right-arm pacer Yadav has played 121 matches and picked 119 wickets. He will add strength to the team of benched players of IPL 2021.

Harbhajan Singh has lent his support to Kuldeep Yadav
Harbhajan Singh has lent his support to Kuldeep Yadav
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Harbhajan Singh Don’t See Anything Wrong With Kuldeep Yadav’s Bowling

Harbhajan Singh, the veteran off-spinner does not see anything wrong with Kuldeep Yadav’s bowling technique and hopes that he would come back stronger. Kuldeep Yadav, the left-arm wrist-spinner may have struggled to keep a place in the playing eleven of India as well as in the Kolkata Knight Riders side but he received backing from Harbhajan Singh, KKR’s new recruit.

Once a vital member of both India and KKR’s attack, the chinaman spin bowler has struggled recently and he is not even a regular in the playing XI.

Kuldeep Yadav. [Photo: Twitter]
Kuldeep Yadav. [Photo: Twitter]

Harbhajan Singh: Kuldeep Yadav Has Been A Match Winner For KKR And India

Kuldeep Yadav who had picked 35 wickets from 2016 to 2018 for KKR picked only 4 wickets in 2019 and a solitary wicket in IPL 2020 averaging more than 70 both times. The chinaman spinner didn’t perform up to expectations for India as well having picked only 6 wickets in 2020 bowling 50 overs in ODIs averaging above 50. He hasn’t picked up a wicket in 2021 in ODIs despite bowling 19 overs.

“I don’t see anything with Kuldeep’s bowling. He’s been a match-winner for Team India and for KKR. I’m sure he will come good for KKR and also later on for Team India as well,” Harbhajan said, strongly backing the fellow KKR spinner.

Kuldeep Yadav
Kuldeep Yadav Photo Credit: AP

Last season, Kuldeep Yadav returned with just one wicket in five IPL matches at UAE, of which he was not given the ball in one. Kuldeep Yadav was also a member of the Indian squads in the recent series against Australia and England. But he featured in only one ODI in Australia and one Test and two ODIs against England without any noteworthy performances.

“Kuldeep is a big matchwinner. Nobody told him how to bowl when he first played for India. He still has the same skill-set which has in fact improved now. It’s about time,” Harbhajan  Singh said.

“He is putting in the same efforts. Knowing Kuldeep Yadav, I know he’s a hard worker and he will come back strong. This is part and parcel of a player and has happened with many great bowlers.”

The 40-year-old Harbhajan Singh, who was bought by KKR for Rs 2 crore at this year’s auction, made his debut in a purple jersey in what has been his 23rd professional season.

Harbhajan Singh Happy To Bowl 1st Over In KKR’s First Match Against SRH And Didn’t Mind Bowling Another Over

KKR skipper Eoin Morgan pressed Harbhajan Singh into action in the very first over to get a match-up with David Warner. Harbhajan Singh, in fact, almost dismissed SRH skipper David Warner in the fourth ball but Pat Cummins dropped the Sunrisers Hyderabad captain in an eventful first over.

“My goal has always been to play cricket. I was a bit nervous initially and then I told myself to relax and bowl the way I’ve been doing all these years. Glad that I bowled that first over well.”

Veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh. (Twitter Photo)
Veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh. (Twitter Photo)

Harbhajan Singh was not given the ball again in the match which KKR skipper Eoin Morgan later described to his match-up strategy, but the off-spinner did not mind and hopes he will bowl some more overs for his new team KKR.

“I was waiting to bowl more but it didn’t happen. I’m sure going forward I’ll be bowling many more overs for KKR and win those small little moments.”

KKR started off their IPL 2021 campaign in an emphatic manner, defeating SRH by 10 runs and Harbhajan Singh hoped that they would come good this season, having missed the playoffs in 2019 and 2020.

“We have got all the bases covered in terms of batting and bowling. We have got a great setup of youngsters in batting and bowling. I feel we have a great chance, we just need to back ourselves and set standards high,” he concluded.

After playing 81 games for India in his first three years of international cricket, Kuldeep Yadav has represented his nation in just 10 matches since the start of 2020. The 26-year-old went wicketless in the ODI series against England before the start of IPL 2021.

On the other hand, KKR’s decision to shell out Rs. 2 crores for Harbhajan Singh at the IPL 2021 Auction perplexed many experts, and fans as they already had the likes of Varun Chakravarthy, Sunil Narine, Shakib Al Hasan, and Kuldeep Yadav in their ranks. But the veteran off-spinner started against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday and may play the next game against Mumbai Indians too on 13th April.

R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
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If I Was Virat, I Would Pick Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja For India’s T20 World Cup Campaign, Says Monty Panesar

Monty Panesar, former England spinner feels the Indian selectors and team management might have a bit of a headache when it comes to picking the first choice spinning options for the forthcoming T20 World Cup in India.

India skipper Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri would want to pick the best team for India before the ICC T20 World Cup begins in India later this year. The Indian team management would want to pick the first-choice openers,  the best fast bowling options considering injury woes, the best spinning options, and the best all-rounders all of which should be decided prior to the World Cup.

Monty Panesar
Monty Panesar

Monty Panesar: IPL Will Be A Litmus Test For Kuldeep Yadav And Yuzvendra Chahal

Monty Panesar rates ‘veterans’ Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja as better options over wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. In the last 10 T20Is that he has played, Yuzvendra Chahal has taken 9 wickets. On the other hand, Kuldeep Yadav hasn’t got many chances in the shortest format of the game.
After playing 9 T20Is in 2018, the Chinaman bowler featured in just 4 T20Is in the last two years (2 T20Is in 2019 and 2 T20Is in 2020). He last played a T20I match for India in 2020 (against Sri Lanka in Indore), where he took 2 wickets in his four overs, conceding 38 runs.
Kuldeep Yadav
Kuldeep Yadav Photo Credit: AP

“The IPL will be a big litmus test for Chahal and Kuldeep. If they have a bad season, their T20 World Cup berths will be doubtful,” Monty Panesar told Timesofindia.com in an exclusive interview.

“With the T20 World Cup coming up in October, Virat wants to pick his best spinners. He has pacers and all-rounders and batsmen. The selection of spinners can worry him. I wouldn’t mind seeing Jadeja and Ashwin back in the fray.

“If I was Virat, I would pick Ashwin-Jadeja ahead of Kuldeep-Chahal for the World T20. That’s because of their experience and game-changing abilities. They both have all-around abilities. They both are big-match players.” Monty Panesar added.

According to the former England spinner Monty Panesar, the recent form of spin duo Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav has put a big question mark on their selection.

Monty Panesar Reckons Virat Kohli Will Go For Ravichandran Ashwin And Ravindra Jadeja While Harbhajan Singh Is Dark Horse

Ravichandran Ashwin, who has played 78 Tests, 111 ODIs, and 46 T20Is for India so far, last played a T20I match way back in 2017 against West Indies in Kingston. The 34-year-old off-spinner was the second-highest wicket-taker for India and fourth overall, in the four-match Test series in Australia.

He claimed 12 wickets in 3 Tests, including one four-wicket haul. In the four-match home series against England, Ravichandran Ashwin was the highest wicket-taker. He signed off the series with 32 scalps in 4 Tests, including 3 five-wicket hauls.

“With the World Cup coming up, Ashwin can play a big role. He has a brilliant mind. He is experienced. I would suggest Kohli should go for Ashwin and Jadeja in the World Cup. They are veterans and have won the games for India with both bat and ball.

“Cricket is a funny game. Things change pretty quickly here. Performers become non-performers and people who have been warming benches, shine. A lot of talent is coming up in Indian cricket.

“It is all about 2 or 3 bad games and there are other options who are waiting to take your spot,” Monty Panesar further told TimesofIndia.com.

Ravichandran Ashwin of India. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Ravichandran Ashwin of India. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Interestingly, Monty Panesar also feels a good IPL performance can also surprisingly see veteran 40-year-old Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh joining the selection race.

“This IPL is about the Indian spinners. You can’t undermine Harbhajan Singh. Why not pick him in the World Cup squad if he has a good IPL season? I think he has some cricket left in him.

“Ashwin, Jadeja, and even Harbhajan will have the opportunity to be in the World Cup squad. All they need is to have a good IPL season,” Panesar maintained.

Interestingly, Harbhajan Singh played his first competitive match after 699 days on Sunday, when he featured in the KKR playing XI for their tournament opener vs SRH.

Harbhajan Singh in fact opened the bowling for the Kolkata Knight Riders and almost took the wicket of the dangerous David Warner in the first over of the SRH innings, but Pat Cummins dropped a rather simple chance at point.

Harbhajan though bowled just that one over in the match and KKR captain Eoin Morgan later said that he played a big role, advising and guiding the other bowlers during the match.

Eoin Morgan has also said that since he joined the Kolkata camp, Harbhajan Singh has shown more energy than anyone else.

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