West Indies v India, 2nd ODI, Port of Spain June 26, 2017

Kuldeep hard to pick from the wrist - Kohli

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Virat Kohli: 'A wristspinner is always a bonus' © AFP

Kuldeep Yadav has bowled in two matches for India. On Test debut in March, he took four first-innings wickets, turning the ball both ways to trip Australia up after they were 144 for 1 in the series decider. The first time he bowled in an ODI, on Sunday, Kuldeep had West Indies in a tangle with his wrong 'uns and finished with 3 for 50. What is it that makes the 22-year old left-arm wristspinner hard to handle?

"It becomes difficult when he bowls cross-seam deliveries turning both ways," the India captain Virat Kohli said, after his side's 105-run victory in the second ODI in Trinidad. "Usually bowlers bowl seam-up deliveries turning in and cross seam bowling the googly. But he can do both bowling cross seam, so that becomes difficult to pick from the wrist.

"Then when batsmen try to attack, he can slow his pace down, just beat the batsmen halfway into the pitch. So he's quite amazing with what he does with the ball. I've faced him in the IPL as well, he's not easy to get away - especially when the wicket is dry like it was today, he becomes even more lethal. Credit to him for putting in a performance like that in his first bowling performance in ODIs."

In the Champions Trophy earlier this month in England, India had an unlikely weakness: spin. The offspin of R Aswhin and left-arm spin of Ravindra Jadeja proved ineffective, prompting former captain Rahul Dravid to suggest it was time to try wristspin. Given Kuldeep's immediate success, Kohli was asked if he would be one to stick with in ODIs.

"A wristspinner is always a bonus, something we have identified now in this series, so all sorts of options are open," Kohli said. "The 2019 World Cup, we've got 15 players here, then we've got a pool of 10 or 12 back home who will probably be tested over the next two years, see how they react in pressure situations, and who's able to make more impact through the middle overs for us, especially with the ball. That's something we need to look at as a side, to improve upon going ahead, then figure out who the best guys are."

India's other top performer in Port of Spain was Ajinkya Rahane, who struck 103 off 104 balls to set them on their way to 310 for 5 in 43 overs. Rahane did not get a game in the Champions Trophy, with India's first-choice opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma in fine form. However, with Rohit rested for this series, Rahane stepped in and made 50-plus scores in the first two ODIs.

Kohli said Rahane remained India's preferred back-up opener in limited-overs cricket and offered the team the option of selecting an extra bowler because of his ability to bat in the middle order as well.

"Jinks [Rahane] has great potential at the top of the order, but when Rohit and Shikhar as an opening partnership play well in one-day cricket then that becomes a powerful package for us," Kohli said. "Jinks is always in there for us as the third opener, and having got the opportunity in this series he has batted really well. Today, the way he paced himself I thought was really, really nice. He was going at a run a ball, never fell behind.

"If he keeps performing like this... he's someone who has done the middle-order job as well in the past, so he can very well be that floater in the middle order. He's someone that might allow you to take an extra bowler in a big tournament like a 2019 World Cup. There are very few guys who can open and play in the middle order and Ajinkya is one of them. In future we see him providing more balance to us as a side in terms of taking an extra bowling option maybe on tour."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • sayakb0114950 on June 29, 2017, 12:00 GMT

    In spite of his amazing talent , I believe Chahal is a better while ball bowler than Kuldeep. He could have concentrated on FC cricket and tests for a couple of years. Regarding the spin allrounders , we need to include Krunal to provide an alternative for Jadeja in the limited overs squad. My 50 over team : 1) Rahul 2) Dhawan 3) VK 4)Rohit 5)Dhoni 6) Pant 7)Krunal 8)Hardik 9)Bhuvi 10)Bumrah 11) Chahal/Shami (based on conditions). Reserves : Shami/Chahal, Jadeja, Umesh, Rahane (as he can be back up for 1-4) and Manish Pande. Only weakness in this side will be the lack of backup bowlers. I guess Rohit should try bowling a bit in nets, he used a to bowl a little in ODIs earlier.

  • al7sea9676218 on June 28, 2017, 1:13 GMT

    Yuvraj please retire your best has been gone please please retire

  • Morty on June 27, 2017, 20:03 GMT

    Let us think like Pakistan and bring in young talent. My WC team: 1) Pant, 2) Rohit 3) Virat, 4) Nitish Rana, 5) Hooda, 6) Krunal, 7) Hardik, 8) Jadeja, 9) Bhuvi, 10) Avesh, 11) Shami

    Reserves: 12) Sarfraz, 13) Bumrah, 14) W Sundar, 15) Kuldeep

    Also inclined to replace Rohit with Rahul Trivedi, who is a fluent opener.

    Certainly, time for Yuvi and Dhoni to make way - no need to take them in 2019 when the game will indeed be physically taxing for them! Also, in top 6 we need a back-up bowler who could bowl 10 overs and here we have both Krunal and Hooda

  • Morty on June 27, 2017, 16:47 GMT

    My WC team: Pant Rohit Virat Nitish Rana Hooda Krunal Hardik Jadeja Bhuvi Avesh Shami

    Reserves: Sarfraz Bumrah W Sundar Kuldeep

  • carsgo0135897 on June 27, 2017, 16:33 GMT

    i don't know why chanderpaul was forced into retirement , they did not find any player to replace chanderpaul. Darren bravo facing disciplinary issues . They are a mess . The west indies team and board .

  • Vasudevan on June 27, 2017, 12:11 GMT

    It is ridiculous that India keeps playing its best 11 against this West Indies 'B' team. Some of the seniors must give way and provide opportunity for the bench players to get exposed to international games more often in series like this. India cannot lose to this side no matter which XI they would field. They are sadly wasting these opportunities for youngsters.

  • arvind4679755 on June 27, 2017, 11:39 GMT

    Too early to judge him and that too against a very weak WI team. Kuldeep struggled to deceive subcontinent batsmen like Shoaib Malik, Raina, etc. in CLT20 and also Indian batsman who are good against spin in last year's Duleep trophy. Chahal is a far better shorter format bowler than Kuldeep.

  • Cricinfouser on June 27, 2017, 9:48 GMT

    I wonder who is selecting the west cricket team and why they are not getting it close to right after years of selecting the wrong team. first question is why are they continuing to keep jason holder as Captain of the team. he has no juice left in him. no stamina and he is a useless bowler who brefers to bowl himself in the end of an innings. and secondly most of the players in the present team does not belong there

  • Hamza Salman on June 27, 2017, 7:48 GMT

    Dhoni brings far too much to Indian team, in terms of his on-field understanding and match handling tactics which are invaluable for the skipper. To my knowledge, he's no Indian team player has ever had a serious issue with Dhoni, so he is a complete team man. Not many newcomers can fire big right away like Shadab, Fakhar and Hassan Ali, so to expect every good potential to be a ready replacement for the legendary Dhoni is simply wrong.

  • sreeha7911188 on June 27, 2017, 7:47 GMT

    Isn't it quite funny that Virat Kholi is talking about Kuldeep as if he has heard about and seen him for the first time in his life? That he is hard to pick n all...very funny. You can easily make out what is genuine and what is not. Watch out when Kholi talks about a few players there will be stark difference. Kholi speaks 10x more supportingly about Rohi, Dhawan, Jadeja etc. But Kholi speaks 10x more depressingly about Pujara, Kuldeep, and Rahane.

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