Not competing with Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, insists Kuldeep Yadav
Kuldeep and Chahal have risen to become India's front-line spinners in ODIs and T20Is.
What's the story?
Terming the experienced spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja as a source of 'guidance', chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav has dismissed talks of competing with them in the limited-overs formats. Insisting that his newfound combination with leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal would not turn into a rivalry of sorts with the senior stars, the 22-year old revealed that the accomplished off-spinner and the accurate left-armer are continuing to offer valuable suggestions on adapting to various situations in the game.
In a candid chat with CricketNext, Kuldeep asserted, "I have no idea where this comparison comes from. Yes, Chahal and me have done decently in the limited-overs format. But that does not mean we are competing with Ashwin and Jadeja. Just look at their numbers and what they have done. We are just starting out and for me, I look up to them for guidance. In fact, they keep telling me how to go about doing my job in different match situations. Let us get this straight that they are not competition at all."
In the aftermath of the lead spin duo's dismal outing in the 2017 Champions Trophy final against Pakistan, the Indian selectors began to come to terms with the value of wrist-spin in the currently batsmen-dominant era of white-ball cricket.
In the guise of providing 'rest' for the established stars, the selectors gradually replaced Ashwin and Jadeja with Kuldeep and Chahal for ODIs as well as T20Is.
The heart of the matter
Since the tour of West Indies in June-July, both Ashwin and Jadeja have not made a single appearance in the limited-overs formats. With their ability to deliver crucial wickets at different stages of the game, Kuldeep and Chahal have taken the senior duo's spots by forming a potent spin combination with the white-ball.
From the Sri Lanka tour till present, Chahal has played eleven ODIs and six T20Is. In those matches, he picked up fifteen and seven wickets respectively. During the same time period, Kuldeep has featured in seven ODIs and four T20Is. The chinaman exponent picked up eleven and five wickets respectively from those games.
With the attention turning to the premier format of the game, Ashwin and Jadeja are expected to lead India's spin attack in the upcoming 3-match Test series at home against Sri Lanka. The first Test is slated to be held at Eden Gardens from Thursday onwards. Kuldeep is also part of the squad which has been named for the first two Tests.
Unlike his confounding wrist-spin which often entangles opposition batsmen in knots, Kuldeep has managed to tackle a tricky topic in an uncomplicated manner. The talented spinner's sensible comments on the competition for slots highlight his mature mindset.