Nottingham – Kuldeep Yadav hopes his recent limited-overs
performances will prompt India’s selectors to include him in their squad for
the upcoming Test series in England.
The left-arm wrist spinner took a superb one-day
international best six for 25 in his maximum 10 overs as India beat England by
eight wickets at Trent Bridge on Thursday to go 1-0 up in a three-match series.
That followed the 23-year-old’s five for 24 in the first
Twenty20 international against England at Old Trafford on July 3 – a series
India won 2-1.
His latest haul – the best by any spinner in an ODI against
England – helped India dismiss the hosts for 268 in Nottingham, with opener
Rohit Sharma then making 137 not out as the tourists won with nearly 10 overs
Left-arm wrist spinners are a rarity in top-level cricket
and England’s batsmen are struggling to pick which way Yadav is turning the
After the one-dayers, India remain in England for a
With Britain, by its standards, experiencing something of a
heatwave, pitches around the country are dry and receptive to spin, rather than
the traditional green surfaces beloved of seam bowlers.
Yadav’s recent success, allied to favourable conditions, has
led to suggestions he could be included in the Test squad due to be announced
by India’s selectors over the weekend.
In recent times India have tended to deploy the experienced
pair of off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and left-arm orthodox Ravindra Jadeja
as their specialist slow bowlers in the five-day game.
But as he reflected on his heroics at Trent Bridge, Yadav
made it clear he wanted to add to his tally of nine wickets in two Tests – the
last against Sri Lanka in Pallekele in August 2017.
“I bowled wicket to wicket and tried to vary my
pace,” he said. “Talking about Test cricket, I am hoping for the call
and let’s see what happens in a couple days when they announce the Test
England’s top three batsmen were in devastating form during
a preceding 5-0 series rout of Australia last month – which included a men’s
ODI record total of 481 for six at Trent Bridge on June 19.
But on Thursday, albeit with opener Alex Hales missing with
a side injury that has ruled him out of the entire series, Yadav removed an
England top three of Jason Roy, Test skipper Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow in a
stunning spell of three wickets for five runs in 10 balls.
“It doesn’t matter to me because I never bowl looking
at who the batsman is,” explained Yadav.
“In my mind, I am only thinking about how I can
contribute to the team,” he added.
England have used a specialist bowling machine in a bid to
help them prepare for the challenge of facing Yadav, but the bowler himself was
“With a bowling machine, you cannot see the hand or
wrist or arm during delivery and the ball only turns,” he said.
“So if you are not picking the ball (from the hand),
then there is a huge problem.”
Ben Stokes (50) and Jos Buttler (53) prevented complete
collapse during a fifth-wicket stand of 93 but they too fell to Yadav.
England, the 2019 World Cup hosts, don’t have much time to
come up with a new plan for Yadav ahead of Saturday’s second ODI at Lord’s and
skipper Eoin Morgan admitted: “He is very good and there is no getting
“He exposes an area of our game we need to improve on,
that is a healthy thing,” the Irishman added.
“It’s a chance to improve in this area, however long it
takes, between now and the World Cup.”
Meanwhile Morgan tried to put England’s struggles against
Yadav into perspective by saying: “Considering there is only one left-arm
‘Chinaman’ (a left-arm wrist-spinner) bowler in the world it is not a huge
“You play against one team and he happens to be very
good, he is not any old left-arm ‘Chinaman’.”