The much-awaited Test series between India and England is all set to begin from August 1 at Edgbaston Cricket Stadium in Birmingham. England and India have met 57 times on English pitches in Tests. Out of these, England registered a win on 30 occasions while India won on 6 occasions, with 21 matches ending in a draw.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli would be looking to bridge such a wide win gap this time around.
Selecting the right playing XI would be the key for Team India. With the presence of Kuldeep Yadav in the squad, it would be tough for Kohli to pick the right spin combination in the team. Kuldeep’s presence puts the participation of India’s regular Test spinners—Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja—in question.
Kuldeep found his place in the Test team following his superb match performances in the ODI and T20I series that were played in July. With fans backing Kuldeep in the playing XI, many cricket pundits are putting their chips on R Ashwin.
Former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar has opined that Ashwin’s presence in the playing XI will allow Team India to field an extra bowler in the form of Kuldeep, who can play the role of a second spinner.
In his column in TOI, Gavaskar wrote:
“They have the advantage of two of their bowlers, R Ashwin and Hardik Pandya with Test hundreds under their belts, so they can bat deep even if they go with five batsmen and there’s Dinesh Karthik too, who has a Test hundred. If Karthik bats at six with Ashiwn and Pandya to follow then they can play Kuldeep Yadav as the second spinner.”
India’s vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, on the hand, said that Kuldeep is an X-factor but they can’t overlook what Jadeja and Ashwin have done in the past for the team.
“Kuldeep Yadav is definitely an X-factor in our team. Yes, we don’t have to forget Ashwin and Jadeja. They have been doing really well for us. Especially Ashwin, with his batting and bowling, he has been doing really well,” Rahane said in the pre-match press conference.
— Cricbuzz (@cricbuzz) July 31, 2018
Former England captain Alec Stewart has opined that Test matches in England will be a different ball game for the young spinner.
“All of a sudden, he won’t have four men at the boundary. He will have four men around the bat, and the batsmen don’t have to try and score with a positive intent. Can he bowl enough good balls and ask questions of the batsmen as he had done in white-ball cricket?” Stewart told PTI.
Former India captain and chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar has stated that he prefers Kuldeep over others.
“I’ll pick Kuldeep Yadav over anybody else. I think that the English batsmen aren’t comfortable in facing wrist spinner,” Vengsarkar told TOI.