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Sri Lanka vs India 2017: Kuldeep Yadav excited but nervous about playing in Pallekele Test

The 22-year-old might play just his second Test on Saturday.


Yadav will battle it out against Axar Patel for a place in the playing XI in the final Test against Sri Lanka at Pallekele on Saturday
Kuldeep will battle it out against Axar Patel for a place in the playing XI

What's the story?

Left-arm chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav hopes to see his hard work rewarded with a place in the playing XI when India take on Sri Lanka in the final Test of the series, at Pallekele on Saturday.

"Obviously there is excitement. I was excited to play my debut Test as well. So if I get a chance to play in Sri Lanka I will be very happy because this will be a result of my hard work. While I am excited, I am also nervous because I want to perform," said the 22-year-old.

The Kanpur lad was not totally sure of his chances of making it into the playing XI, stating, "It is still not clear (if I will play) because there are three days left for practice. But ever since I have come here, (Ravi) Shastri sir keeps on motivating me. I have been doing nets and he has been talking to me during the nets from even before the first Test. It is a good experience.”

In case you didn't know...

Ravindra Jadeja, who was the Man of the Match in India’s series clinching win at Colombo, was suspended for the third Test due to a breach of the ICC code and hence, the team management allowed him to travel home while Axar Patel was roped in as his replacement.

The heart of the matter

Kuldeep's performances at the domestic level had already made him one for the future. He made his Test debut against Australia in Dharamsala and had a remarkable start to his international career, picking up 4 wickets for 68 and playing a key role in India winning the match, and the series 2-1.

Ever since then though, he has been India’s third-choice spinner behind Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, who are currently the two top spin bowlers in Test cricket. Even though Axar Patel has been brought in as Jadeja’s replacement, it is highly unlikely that he will get the nod. Hence, Kuldeep has a very good chance of playing just his second Test, at Pallekele on Saturday.

What’s next?

The Indian team will first focus on keeping each of their players prepared for the final Test before making a decision on whom to include in the playing XI. They would be looking to complete a whitewash of a struggling Sri Lankan side when they take the field on Saturday.

Author’s take

Kuldeep Yadav has shown a lot of promise in the domestic circuit and his performance in his debut Test was also commendable. Since he has relatively more Test cricket experience than Axar Patel, his chances of making it into the playing XI will definitely be high.

However, the 23-year-old spinner from Gujarat cannot be written off. Additionally, since the series is already in the bag, Virat Kohli might experiment by including both Axar and Kuldeep in the playing XI.

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