Calls grow for Kuldeep's inclusion

After India's embarrassing 227-run defeat in Chennai on Tuesday, voices seeking left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav's inclusion in the XI for the second Test, beginning at the same venue on Saturday, have started growing.

Legendary Indian off-spinner Erapalli Prasanna said the team should play Kuldeep in the second Test.

"Now we have no choice but to give him a chance. He should be given a fair deal. There was a lack of quality spinners in the first Test," Prasanna, 80, who bagged 189 wickets in 49 Tests, told IANS.

Kuldeep was selected for the recent tour to Australia but didn't get to play in any of the four Tests, despite several bowlers being sidelined with injuries.

India preferred off-spinners R. Ashwin and Washington Sundar and left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja.

Former India left-arm spinner Maninder Singh too threw his weight behind Kuldeep and said that, if he's not in the Indian team's scheme of things, he should not be in the squad.

"If you are not confident about playing him, don't carry him as a tourist or a passenger," said Maninder. "I can't think of a reason he has not played, except that they might not be happy with his performance in the nets.

"And, if that is so, the team management should inform the selectors.

"Yadav will be the X-factor as there are not many Chinaman bowlers around. Ideally, I would like to see a leg-spinner in the XI against England."

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar too wants India to play Kuldeep in place of Shahbaz Nadeem in the second Test.

"Maybe with hindsight, they could have included Kuldeep (for the first Test) as he gives a bit of variety," said Gavaskar. "Because you have two off-spinners Washington Sundar and Ravichandran Ashwin."

"Ashwin is slower in the air and Sundar is slightly quicker. Maybe they will bring Kuldeep for the next Test in place of Nadeem or Sundar. They need to look at dismissing England for lesser than what they scored this time around."

It continues to be a mystery why Kuldeep is not a regular member of India's playing XI despite taking five wickets in the last innings he bowled against Australia in Sydney in 2019. In six Tests, the 26-year-old has bagged 24 wickets at an average of 24.13. He is still considered a dangerous bowler for batsmen around the world.

Kuldeep's coach Kapil Pandey feels that if Kuldeep had been playing for any other team, he would have played 50 Tests by now and taken 200 wickets.

"Players (such as Sundar and Nadeem) are not able to extract spin off the surface because they are just one or two Tests old, we can't blame them," said Pandey.

"I have been in coaching for the past 20 years and I have never seen players making the playing XI overnight.

"Kuldeep Yadav is continuously travelling with the team, suffering, yet they are not giving him a chance. He is a bowler who can be played in any match.

"Everybody should be given equal chance. Sundar is being given chances to prove himself, Nadeem has been given two chances, so why not Kuldeep?

"He has taken five wickets in his last Test innings in Australia, shouldn't he be given a chance?"

Indo-Asian News Service

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