Image courtesy of: Zimbio
India captain Virat Kohli has admitted that the spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav will be key to India’s hopes of winning the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales.
Chahal and Kuldeep have dominated with the ball for India in limited overs cricket, so much so that they have kept Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, who are India’s go-to spinners in Tests, out of the side.
In the first three games of the ongoing six-match ODI series against South Africa, Chahal and Kuldeep have combined to take 21 wickets.
Chahal has 11 wickets to his name at an average of 10.27, while Kuldeep has claimed 10 victims at an average of 7.70.
Even Kohli admitted that he was shocked to see how much of an impact the pair are having in South Africa, which is generally known for being more pace-friendly.
“I don’t have words to explain this,” Kohli was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz. “It’s outstanding to see two guys just totally spinning a web around the opposition. There doesn’t seem to be a way out at all. It’s unbelievable. Credit to them. Both have been working hard on their game.
“Both are very brave in terms of how they bowl and the kind of fields they want as well. They are very brave tossing the ball and asking the batsman to come out and play a risky shot. Hats off to them but the other debate is a bit away from now. You never know what happens in the future but I am really happy at the moment.”
But what’s the reason behind Chahal and Kuldeep’s incredible success in South Africa? According to Kohli, the duo have been made to work hard to produce something on flatter wickets that are catered towards batsmen back in India.
As a result, when they bowl on pitches in foreign countries that may have a bit more bounce and some turn on it, both Chahal and Kuldeep will take full advantage of it.
“We knew they will pick up wickets. Because wrist spinners, these guys have bowled in flatter batting tracks at home,” Kohli said. “Some might think they have bowled in T20 cricket when the conditions are very, very difficult and they have picked up wickets on a regular basis you know.
“Here they felt even better because they were getting bounce, on some pitches like today, it got really slow at the end so they were getting turn as well.
“They feel at the top of their game when they have the pitches supporting them even a little bit. But they are very brave and even on flatter pitches, wrist spinners will also come into play and they have made that difference in the game. They might go for 6 an over, we knew that but they will pick up 3-4 wickets between them.
“They have done outstandingly well in the last two games picking up a majority of the wickets in both games and being the difference between both sides.”
Kohli added that Chahal and Kuldeep’s bravery to keep tossing deliveries up in order to try and get batsmen out is another reason for their success. While this tactic might see them leak runs at times, the Indian skipper knows it will eventually pay off.
With this in mind, Kohli has no plans to change their approach, especially with the 2019 World Cup fast approaching.
Image courtesy of: Zimbio
“The thing is very simple. They are told to go for wickets at all times,” the 29-year-old said. “When you are going for wickets you are bowling in areas that are uncomfortable for the batsmen and more often than not they end up defending. When you bowl wide and try to save runs then you give an opportunity to take singles also. So I think all the credit has to go to them because they’ve executed those lines and lengths perfectly.
“They’ve always, every over they’ve asked two-three questions of the batsmen, that is something outstanding. I haven’t seen that before. Every over they might pick up two wickets, that is the kind of belief they have in their abilities and the team has a belief in them, the team is backing them.
“They might get hit for 70-odd in the next game. But there is no problem in that because you know that if they bowl attacking lines then they will end up picking 2-3 wickets every game. Going ahead in these conditions now, and we are going to play the World Cup away from home, that I think is going to be the massive factor for us.”