Jayant Yadav can fill Ashwin's shoes if groomed properly, says Sourav Ganguly
India took a 1-0 lead in the 5-Test series against England after a comprehensive win at Vizag. It was a collective team effort where everyone chipped towards India’s victory. In both the innings, it was Virat Kohli who helped India put on runs on the board, while it was Ravichandran Ashwin who took the bulk of the wickets for the home side. But there was another player who hogged the limelight at Vizag, and that player was none other than the debutant from Haryana, Jayant Yadav.
Yadav, on his debut, displayed immense maturity when he came out to bat. He also bowled tight linesand lengths and took three wickets in the match. If that wasn't enough, Yadav was also instrumental in the run-out of Haseeb Hameed at a crucial juncture in the first innings.
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly, who was known for his eye to spot young talent, was impressed by Yadav’s debut, and felt that the off-spinner looks like someone who belongs to the big stage. In a chat with ESPNcricinfo, Ganguly said, "Yadav looks like he belongs at the highest level - he looked solid when he came out to bat, and bowled good lines too. If he keeps performing with the ball, that will allow India the luxury to play with five bowlers in future.”
Ganguly felt that Yadav might find it difficult to get in the playing eleven when India travels abroad. “The problem Yadav might have to face is when India travel abroad. Yadav may not always get a game as India would prefer to go with only one frontline off-spinner, Ravichandran Ashwin. But having said that, with Jayant Yadav at nine, it provides India depth in batting and will be a good for their team combination in future,” Ganguly said.
Ganguly also felt that given Yadav might not get to play regularly with Ashwin’s presence, it will be all the more important for the captain and the coaching staff to monitor Yadav’s progress. Ganguly said,”Jayant is a good kid, and it’s important for Virat Kohli, Anil Kumble and the selectors to keep him interested, and make sure that he keeps improving. It will help the team in the long run as whenever Ashwin is finished with his career or even injured, you know you have a Test-ready off-spinner to fall upon to.”
Talking about Yadav’s temperament, Ganguly said,” Jayant has a great temperament, and he will only get better with time.”
Ganguly was also impressed by Mohammed Shami’s performance in Vizag, but added that Shami will truly be considered match-winner when he performs in Indian conditions when the pitches aren’t spinner friendly. Ganguly said,” I am very happy with Shami’s performance. Historically, fast bowlers have done well in Indian conditions since the pressure to wickets is always on the spinners and not on the pacers. I will be really happy if Shami picks up five wickets for India at Mohali when they lose a toss. That is when we can say that Shami had truly become India’s frontline fast bowler.”