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Kuldeep Yadav - How the left-arm Shane Warne bamboozled England's Bazball

India vs England: Kuldeep Yadav - the left-arm Shane Warne. His reinvention spells good times ahead for India. Kuldeep helped India with ball as well as bat in Ranchi Test.

India vs England: Kuldeep Yadav - the left-arm Shane Warne. _ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©X_Twitter)
Kuldeep Yadav took 4-22 and scored crucial 28 in Ranchi Test (Images: ©X/Twitter)

Kuldeep Yadav 2.0 as many is calling is one of the best things that is happening to Indian cricket right now in more ways than one. We all know what a confident leg-spinner can do with the ball in all the formats of the game, and they are the most attacking option a captain can have in their arsenal.

Like the great yesteryear leggies Shane Warne, Anil Kumble, etc Kuldeep was also touted for bigger things when he made his senior India debut. The left-arm chinaman bowler found immediate success in the two white-ball formats and formed a potent force with fellow leg-spinner Yuzuvendra Chahal. 

However, he didn’t get an immediate entry into the Test line-up since the team had stalwarts like Ravi Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja. So, it was rather difficult for him to find a place in the playing XI despite taking a fifer in Sydney Test in the historic 2018/19 Border Gavaskar Trophy and then coach Ravi Shastri labelling him as India’s first choice spinner overseas. 

That was just his sixth Test match in 2 years for India, but he proved his worth in those games. The 29-year-old averaged 24.13 while taking 24 wickets with 2 five-wicket hauls. But his form dwindled post this series and Kuldeep went out of favor. He had an ordinary 2019 in ODI cricket and lost his place in the Test side and had to wait for another 2 years to make a one-off appearance in the longest format of the game.

But 2022 saw, Kuldeep Yadav slowly getting back to his best as took his third five-wicket haul in Tests, this time against Bangladesh and 12 wickets in ODI format in the same year. A stunning 2023 followed for the wrist spinner where he accumulated 49 wickets in ODIs at 20.49 in 30 games and 14 in 9 T20Is. This marked the return of Kuldeep Yadav, the wicket-taker and he was one of the reasons why India was successful for large part of last year in ODI cricket.

His successful re-emergence prompted the team management to give him another run-in whites in the ongoing home series against England and so far, it has been a successful one.  He has just filled in as India’s third spinner but at times overshadowed the other two premier spinners (Ashwin and Jadeja) in the process. While he picked 12 wickets at 22.58 a piece in the series, it is not always about the wickets.

India vs England_ Kuldeep Yadav scored 28 runs against England in Ranchi _ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©X_Twitter)
Kuldeep Yadav scored 28 runs against England in Ranchi (Images: ©X/Twitter)

How Kuldeep bamboozled England’s Bazball?

Kuldeep’s impact on the game has been outstanding this series and England will view him as the thorn in their flesh once the tour concludes. The spinner with his wily speed control and immaculate line & length proved to be quite a handful for England team, and their Bazball approach.

England’s batting gameplay is quite straightforward and almost all their batters including Joe Root (known for playing attritional cricket) look to go berserk in every opportunity they get. Usually, they go on an attacking spree irrespective of whether the ball is old or new and England did throw bowlers like Ashwin & Jadeja at some point in the series with their stroke play. 

In India, where SG balls are used for Tests would lose its hardness as it gets old and the bite from the surface for a spinner becomes that much less. This is where Kuldeep needs to be appreciated. He rarely gets the new cherry and more often, his first spell would always come with a relatively older ball. This phase is ideally suited for England’s Bazball but Kudeep never let them do that. With his control, he proved to be effective even with old ball and at times made batters like Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes dance to his tunes. Some of his deliveries turned too much that it deceived even the umpires and India keeper Dhruv Jurel on occasions.

Kuldeep’s rise in stature in this format can be viewed as a refreshing one for Indian cricket. With Ravi Ashwin and Jadeja not getting younger, India needs their next crop of spinners coming up the ranks. Kuldeep Yadav with his improving batting skills can be their big spinning hope in the coming years.


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