ICC World Cup 2019: Why Kuldeep and Chahal will play a huge role for Team India
In the last two years, the Indian team has achieved a lot of success in ODI cricket. That makes them one of the favorites to lift the ICC World Cup 2019 trophy.
There are many reasons behind India's recent success, and one among them is the significant contribution of the spinners, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. The expectations from these two will be sky-high in the biggest cricket tournament there is.
Kuldeep and Chahal have played 41 and 44 ODI matches respectively. That's not a lot, but they have proved their worth in the SENA countries.
Both of them have impressive wicket-taking abilities, especially in the middle overs. 55.6% and 46% of the career wickets of Chahal and Kuldeep respectively have been middle order batsmen (4 - 7). Not just this, but 29.9% of Kuldeep's and 25% of Chahal's career wickets are of top 3 batsmen.
Both of them leak runs at an economy of less than 5, which shows that they also control the flow of runs really well throughout the innings and keep things tight for the opposition batsmen.
Since the 2015 World Cup, four of the six highest wicket-takers in ODI cricket are wrist spinners. In this format, five wrist spinners also feature in the top 10 ICC bowlers rankings. Among them, there are two Indian wrist spinners too, Kuldeep at 7th and Chahal at 8th.
This shows how dominant wrist spinners have been in this format over the last few years. The main reason behind these numbers and the impact of wrist spinners is their ability to spin the ball both ways and also their smart use of variations.
Chahal has been in good form of late. He bowled really well on the New Zealand tour and also bagged 18 wickets at an average of 21.44 in IPL 2019 for RCB.
On the other hand, Kuldeep is going through a rough patch. He started the home ODI series against Australia really well this year, but things went wrong in the last two matches where he picked just two wickets and averaged 69. IPL 2019 was also like a bad dream for him as he just took four wickets in the nine matches that he played.
However, skipper Virat Kohli didn't seem worried about Kuldeep's form during his pre-World Cup press conference.
"In hindsight, if you look at it, someone like Kuldeep who has had so much success, it is important to see a period where things don't go your way. We are glad that it happened in the IPL rather than during the World Cup," Kohli said.
India's journey in the World Cup greatly depends on these two spinners. And despite their tremendous contribution in the recent past, the tournament will not be easy for either of them considering the flat tracks on offer in England.
The recently concluded England vs Pakistan series and the WI-Ireland-Bangladesh series are pointing towards a batsmen's World Cup. In that scenario, it is of utmost importance that Kuldeep and Chahal maintain good control over their bowling and ensure that the damage done by the opposition batsmen is not too great.
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