ICC World Cup 2019: What is the contingency plan for India’s spin bowling?
In just a hundred days from now, the home of cricket, England, will host the prestigious cricketing event, the ICC World Cup 2019. As always, the pitches are expected to support the pace bowlers with swing and bounce. Having said that, the spin bowlers will equally play a vital role especially in the middle overs, not only by containing the flow of runs but also by clinching important wickets.
Fortunately, Team India is blessed with not only one but two world-class spinners at the peak of their powers in Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. Their ability to complement each other and work as a single unit has earned them the popular nickname, ‘Kul-Cha’.
Their emergence has completely dislodged seasoned campaigners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja from the scheme of things in white ball cricket. In fact, their rise in the international cricket has brought back the forgotten art of wrist spin back into the limited overs game.
Consequently, Team India appears very much settled with their spinning bowling attack. However, they lack a robust contingency plan. In the upcoming home series against Australia, the team management has not chosen any other full-time spinner.
The World Cup will be a long tournament - a minimum of 9 games - and there is a good chance that Team India may need a third spin bowling option. The series against Australia was a perfect opportunity to finalize a backup option; however, they have stuck with the tried and tested mantra of the spin duo.
Ideally, it would have been the perfect opportunity to give Ravindra Jadeja a chance to roll his arm and seal his place for the World Cup. Since his return ODIs a few months ago in the Asia Cup 2018, he has been an excellent utility player, not only because of his bowling, but also due in part to his blistering batting and agility in the field.
In addition, considering his enormous experience, he is the perfect player to join the 15 member squad in a high-intensity event like the World Cup.
By the look of things, it appears that team management has decided that Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal will be the first-choice spinners for the mega tournament, along with the part-time spin of Kedar Jadhav. Beyond any doubt, it is a very brave, albeit not very wise decision to omit a backup spinner from the squad, even on English pitches.
The selectors still have some time to announce the World Cup squad and if sanity prevails, we may just be in for a surprise with Ravindra Jadeja’s last-minute inclusion.