Kuldeep Yadav's bowling repertoire will give him the capability to compete at Test level, believes Sachin Tendulkar. The former India batsman also reckons Kuldeep could benefit from the heat wave that has gripped England over the last few weeks.
"I have always maintained that he's ready for the longest version of the game and that will be the most challenging one," Tendulkar told Reuters. "I think he's ready. Looking at his repertoire he has the capability to go there and compete, without any doubt. The English summer is pretty warm this time. If there's a bit of help for our spinners then I am sure we will be in a position in the series to hurt them. That will be a critical factor."
Kuldeep continued his explosive run in international cricket in away limited-overs matches this year, with domineering performances against South Africa and England. While he tantalised South Africa in Yuzvendra Chahal's company early in the year, he peaked with stunning individual performances as soon as India's tour of England and Ireland began in June. Kuldeep began the tour with 12 wickets in four T20Is, topping his career-best figures twice in a week's time when he ripped through England in Manchester with 5 for 24. Soon, Kuldeep registered career-best ODI figures of 6 for 25 at Trent Bridge. All in all, Kuldeep has taken 21 wickets in seven games since the start of India's tour.
However, Kuldeep has only played two of India's Tests since he made his debut against Australia in March 2017. With R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja consigned to Test-only roles since last June, and also among the top five Test bowlers in the world, Kuldeep has tough competition to break into the Test XI. Further, with Jasprit Bumrah missing the first Test and Bhuvneshwar Kumar under an injury cloud, the likelihood of India picking an extra seamer is more plausible than an extra spinner.
Tendulkar also lauded the depth and balance that India have going into the Test series, and said it puts them in a good place despite the injuries to some key players.
"We have bowlers who can bat and we have batters who can roll their arm over," he said. "The keeper's contribution also becomes important in batting and we have that. Ashwin and Jadeja can also bat. We also have a seam-bowling allrounder in Hardik Pandya who can bat. That was one element missing, though Hardik's just started his career. But whatever I see on paper, we have good balance.
"It's always nice to have the full playing XI. It's nice to have all players available. But injuries happen and not having the full squad is also part and parcel of any sport. It's one of those challenges we have to face and it doesn't mean we won't be able to produce the results. We are in a position to produce the results.
"One example that I was part of - we had gone to play in Toronto against Pakistan and we were without [Javagal] Srinath, Venkatesh Prasad and [Anil] Kumble, who were our three frontline bowlers. And we beat Pakistan 4-1."