Sourav Ganguly expects Kuldeep Yadav to play Tests in England tour
What's the story?
Former captain Sourav Ganguly expects Kuldeep Yadav to further his Test career during the Indian team's tour of England in July-September. Backing the left-arm wrist-spinner to leapfrog the seasoned spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in the premier format as well, the 45-year old also lauded the team management for turning to wrist-spin in the limited-overs formats.
"I know in England, Kuldeep will play Test matches. I can see that happening. It's tough on Ashwin and Jadeja. More tougher on Ashwin because his Test record is remarkable. I am sure he (Ashwin) will still make the trip but whether he plays or not, we have to see when they get to England", Ganguly told India Today.
The veteran added, "Wrist spinners have been successful in world cricket. Look at Shane Warne. I am not comparing them (Kuldeep and Yuzvendra Chahal) to Warne, because Warne was an absolute champion. I think they (Indian team) have gone the right way."
Following a one-off fixture against Afghanistan in Bengaluru in June, India's Test team face a gruelling 5-match series on England shores between August and September. This time around, Virat Kohli's troops will complete the limited-overs segments prior to the all-important Test series.
The heart of the matter
While the wrist-spin duo of Kuldeep and Chahal have usurped the spots previously held by Ashwin and Jadeja in India's limited-overs teams, the latter combination still hold the aces in Test cricket.
Kuldeep, who has played two Tests in his fledgling career thus far, was not part of the Indian squad which took on South Africa in the recently completed 3-match Test series. From the first two Tests, Ashwin picked up seven wickets at an average of 30.71. With the Johannesburg pitch making spin redundant, India fielded as many as four specialist pacers who in turn delivered a memorable triumph.
When the action moved to the limited-overs leg of the South African safari, the wrist-spin pairing of Kuldeep and Chahal began to entangle the hosts in their webs of mystery. The two spinners pocketed an unprecedented 33 wickets between them and bowled India to a historic ODI series victory.
Having sat out the first T20I, it remains to be seen if Kuldeep enters the playing eleven for the second match at Centurion on Wednesday. Alongside Chahal, he will continue to be in the thick of things as India are set to engage in a T20I tri-series after winding up the South African tour with the third T20I at Cape Town.
The Nidahas T20I series, also involving hosts Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, is scheduled to begin on March 6.
Considering that the pitches in England could start to dry out and take turn during the latter stages of the summer, the Indian spinners may have to play a prominent role in the Test series.
While Ashwin's experience should see him start the series, Kuldeep can certainly come into the mix by putting in eye-catching performances in the preceding limited-overs matches. These two spinners can potentially form the spin contingent in the squad chosen for the England Tests.