India vs New Zealand 2017: Never thought of playing two wrist-spinners together, says Virat Kohli ahead of first ODI
What's the story?
Indian skipper Virat Kohli made a startling revelation in the press conference ahead of the first ODI between India and New Zealand. Kohli, who was addressing the media, opened up about the selections of spin-duo Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, stating that playing both of them together in the same match was never a part of his or the team management's plans.
Kohli went on to add that after seeing the manner in which the two complemented each other on the field, their presence in the playing XI is all but guaranteed.
"We always had plans of bringing wrist-spinners into play, but we honestly never thought of playing two [wrist-spinners] together, but you know, they [Kuldeep and Chahal] are so good together that it's tempting to play them in every game."
In case you didn't know...
Chahal and Kuldeep have had sensational starts to their ODI careers. In the recently-concluded series against Australia, they caused the visitors all sorts of problems with their variations. The duo accounted for 13 wickets between them, from just four matches, and were responsible for at least three of India's four victories.
Kuldeep also became just the third Indian to pick up a hat-trick in ODI cricket when he achieved the feat in the second game, at Kolkata.
The heart of the matter
Kohli also spoke about how the emergence of youngsters in the squad has ensured India have plenty of options to choose from as they approach the 2019 World Cup.
"Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have played limited-overs cricket for the last six-seven years. Now, these youngsters [Axar, Kuldeep, Chahal] have stepped up. As I said, it creates a strong pool for us ahead of the World Cup. Contrary to things being said, we understand the dynamics of the team going forward. People only focus on results and we are currently getting the results, so we are very happy with the way things stand."
India will welcome New Zealand for the first ODI of their five-match series tomorrow at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. With New Zealand not touted to be the greatest players of spin bowling, both Chahal and Kuldeep are expected to feature with Axar Patel likely to miss out.
In this day and age of slam-bang cricket, when containing batsmen isn't always the way to go (what with even 350+ totals being chased down easily), a wrist-spinner lends some much-needed aggression, matching eye to eye with batsmen who now yield, not bats, but sledgehammers.
Possessing the knack to turn the ball appreciably, and enticing batsmen out of the safe domain of their creases, wrist-spinners have become a crucial element of any limited-overs bowling arsenal.
While Ashwin and Jadeja remain the Numero Uno choices in whites, Kuldeep and Chahal have become a force to reckon with in the blue Jersey. While Yadav's unique bowling style makes him a much-needed X-factor, Chahal's canny leggies add an extra dimension as well.