India spinner Kuldeep Yadav’s exclusion from the first Test against England has come as a big surprise for many former players, and Gautam Gambhir is no different. Gambhir went on to say that Yadav could have been a big asset against Joe Root’s side. Like many other series’ in the past, Kuldeep continues to warm the bench, and had last played a Test in Australia in 2019.
“A little unfortunate on Kuldeep to be honest. I thought they should have actually picked Kuldeep against England. A wrist spinner is a rare commodity. He has been with the team, he hasn’t played any cricket so Kuldeep would have been a great asset,” Gautam Gambhir told Cricbuzz.
Gambhir also hinted at the possible reason for the wrist spinners exclusion then. “A lot of time we have seen how a wrist spinner can turn the game. It’s a little unfortunate and a bit surprised as well that they are playing with two off-spinners. Yes probably because they want more depth in the batting at no.7 and no.8. Again a big surprise was Ishant Sharma because he hasn’t played a lot of red-ball cricket,” Gambhir added.
Call it rotation of players or a move to go with the senior pros, pacer Mohammad Siraj, who was India’s highest wicket-taker from the Australia series, was left out of the playing XI for the first Test against England. Skipper Virat Kohli and team management went in with a rather strange-looking team, where Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah did make a comeback, and three spinners — R Ashwin, Shahbaz Nadeem and Washington Sundar were preferred.
India is playing at home after over a year, and perhaps the team management wanted to go in with more spin power on conducive Chennai wicket. But one can only feel sorry for Siraj, who bowled his heart out in Australia, and was instrumental in team’s success Down Under.