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Pragyan Ojha picks Kuldeep Yadav ahead of Washington Sundar for the first Test against England

Kuldeep Yadav
Kuldeep Yadav
SENIOR ANALYST
Modified 02 Feb 2021
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Former left-arm off-spinner Pragyan Ojha believes Team India must pick Kuldeep Yadav ahead of all-rounder Washington Sundar for the first Test against England in Chennai.

Kuldeep Yadav didn't get a single game in the recently-concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy despite a plethora of injuries in the Indian camp. In contrast, Sundar grabbed his opportunity with both hands by contributing with both bat and the ball on his Test debut at the Gabba.

Speaking to Sports Today, Pragyan Ojha said that although the 21-year-old performed extremely well Down Under, Team India already have an off-spinner in the experienced Ravichandran Ashwin.

Ojha believes Kuldeep Yadav, with his left-arm wrist-spin, could give the Indian bowling attack some much-needed variety.

"I think Kuldeep Yadav should get a chance with Ashwin and then Axar Patel. Washington Sundar was the hero in Australia, but we have Ashwin and why not have variation there. We can have someone like Kuldeep Yadav, who can bowl chinaman," Pragyan Ojha said.

Ojha also stressed that if the wicket at the Chepauk stadium is likely to turn square, the hosts could play Axar Patel as their third spinner.

The 27-year-old received a call-up to the Indian team in place of Ravindra Jadeja, who has not yet recovered from his thumb injury.

"If you are looking for another spinner then Axar can bat for you and keep things tight like Jadeja,"ย Pragyan Ojha added.

Hardik Pandya needs to be 100 percent fit for playing Test cricket: Pragyan Ojha

Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya

Speaking about Team India's bowling combinations and the role of all-rounders, Pragyan Ojha focussed on Hardik Pandya.

The star player from Baroda last played a red-ball game for India in September 2018. He has returned to the Test team following impressive performances with the bat in the limited-overs leg Down Under. However, Pragyan Ojha feels Pandya will need to start bowling to claim his place in the playing XI.

The 34-year-old explained that in Tests, a bowler needs to deliver long spells, unlike in limited-overs cricket. So it is crucial for Pandya to get fully fit and bowl consistently to provide valuable balance to the Indian team.

"He (Hardik Pandya) is a very big asset for any team he plays for, given the fact that he needs to bowl. In a Test match, every session you have to bowl. So let's see how he takes all that. That's a reason Test cricket is very important, and he needs to be 100 percent fit," Pragyan Ojha asserted.

With the first Test against England set to begin from February 5, the team management has a good headache in deciding the final playing XI.

Published 02 Feb 2021
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