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India leave out wrist-spinners from playing XI for the first time in 81 ODIs 

Neither Kuldeep Yadav (L) nor Yuzvendra Chahal earned a place in India
Neither Kuldeep Yadav (L) nor Yuzvendra Chahal earned a place in India's playing XI for the final ODI against England
Modified 28 Mar 2021

India made one change to their lineup for the third ODI against the England cricket team. Virat Kohli left Kuldeep Yadav out of the playing XI to include left-arm fast bowler T Natarajan. Courtesy of this change, an impressive streak of wrist-spinners ended in Indian cricket.

After the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, the Indian team management made it clear that they would bowl with an aggressive approach in ODI cricket. Hence, the selectors gave wrist-spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal an opportunity to play. Both players achieved instant success and cemented their places in the squad.

However, both wrist-spinners have failed to show consistency since the 2019 Cricket World Cup. As a result, India preferred to play with only one of them in ODIs for a brief period, with Yadav or Chahal partnering with the orthodox spinners. But even that strategy seems to have ended now.

India have played 80 ODI matches since the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, featuring Kuldeep Yadav or Yuzvendra Chahal in the XI. But in the ongoing 3rd ODI between India and England, the Men in Blue have four fast bowlers and one left-arm spinner in their playing XI.

Has MS Dhoni's absence impacted the wrist-spinners' performances for India?

MS Dhoni is a master tactician, and during his active days in international cricket, he helped the young bowlers improve. Looking at the numbers of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal before and after MS Dhoni's retirement, fans can understand how Dhoni's guidance from behind the stumps helped the wrist-spinning duo.

Their economy rate for India has gone from less than five to more than six runs per over. Both Yadav and Chahal's bowling averages have increased considerably as well.

It will be interesting to see if Kuldeep and Chahal can get back to form ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup at home.

Published 28 Mar 2021, 17:59 IST
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