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South Africa vs India 2018: Kuldeep Yadav is harder to read than Yuzvendra Chahal, feels Shikhar Dhawan

Ram Kumar
3.26K   //    07 Feb 2018, 18:04 IST

Kuldeep Chahal
Kuldeep and Chahal have blossomed into a potent spin attack in white-ball cricket

What's the story?

Having grown accustomed to facing the two wrist-spinners in the nets, opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan feels that Kuldeep Yadav is harder to pick than Yuzvendra Chahal. Terming the exotic nature of chinaman bowling as a tricky art to face, the left-hander is of the opinion that the leg-spinner's googly is also difficult to read.

Dhawan said, "From my point of view, chinaman is more difficult to read. Between Kuldeep and Chahal, I think Kuldeep is a little harder to read. There are players who can’t read googlies. They will find Chahal’s googlies tough to handle. As far as I’m concerned, I find Kuldeep a little more difficult to read."

Shedding light on the wrist-spin duo's menacing pairing, he affirmed, "It’s difficult to play the wrist spinners because they can turn the ball even on a flat track. Especially the overseas players, they are not used to (playing spin). So the wrist spinners can create doubts in the batsmen’s mind. That’s why they are effective."

In the past...

Left-arm wrist-spin has arguably been the most difficult art to master in the history of cricket. Chuck Fleetwood-Smith was the first renowned practitioner of chinaman bowling. While the legendary Sir Garry Sobers has been the best chinaman bowler ever, the likes of Paul Adams and Brad Hogg have also had considerable success.

The heart of the matter

When he made his Test debut against Australia at Dharamsala early last year, Kuldeep became the first specialist chinaman bowler to represent India at the international level. Since then, he has grown from strength to strength and established himself as a key part of India's bowling attack.

Meanwhile, Chahal's rise also helped solve a major quandary in Indian cricket. With pitches in limited-overs cricket becoming increasingly flatter, the 'Men in Blue' needed an accurate leg-spinner also capable of providing key breakthroughs in the middle-overs. The 27-year old's consistent showing in recent times has seen him become an integral part of the bowling unit in both ODIs and T20Is.

Both Kuldeep and Chahal are among the primary reasons behind India's sparkling start to the ongoing six-match ODI series in South Africa. From the first two matches, they have combined to pick 13 wickets from 34.2 overs at the cost of just 121 runs.

What's next?

Kuldeep and Chahal will continue to remain key in India's bid to win their first bilateral ODI series on South African soil. After the third match gets over in Cape Town on Wednesday, the action shifts to the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg for the crucial fourth game on Saturday.

Author's take

With the chinaman spinner's stock ball turning away from the left-hander, Dhawan may find it harder to read Kuldeep than Chahal. Meanwhile, the leg-spinner's deceptive googly makes him a difficult proposition to face for the right-handers.

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Ram Kumar
Someone who views sport as a metaphor for life.
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