Left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav was once again left out of India’s playing XI for the first Test against England at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Friday. Kuldeep was sidelined despite India picking three specialist spinners Ravichandran Ashwin, Washington Sundar and Shahbaz Nadeem in the starting XI. Kuldeep’s exclusion got the fans talking on the social media with many sympathising with the spinner, who last played a Test almost two years ago in 2019 against Australia in Sydney, where he picked up a five-wicket haul. Since then, he has been a regular feature in India’s Test squad but has warmed the bench in all 13 Test matches India have played in that duration, including five at home. In the six Tests he has played so far, Kuldeep has 24 wickets to his name, including two five-wicket hauls.
Many fans were irked by the fact that Kuldeep was ignored while Shabaz Nadeem, who was only added to the Test squad after Axar Patel was ruled out due to an injury just hours before the toss, was included in the playing XI.
Former India batsmen Mohammad Kaif also took to Twitter to express his thoughts on Kuldeep Yadav’s exclusion.
Kaif pointed out how Kuldeep was touted as India’s first-choice Test spinner two years ago but now he is finding it hard to get a game even in the home conditions.
“Just two years ago, Kuldeep Yadav was touted as India’s first choice spinner in Tests. Now, he’s battling to stay afloat. But he needn’t look too far for inspiration. Ashwin & Pant too fought back from periods of self-doubt. Stay strong Kuldeep!” Kaid tweeted.
Just two years ago, Kuldeep Yadav was touted as India’s first choice spinner in Tests. Now, he’s battling to stay afloat. But he needn’t look too far for inspiration. Ashwin & Pant too fought back from periods of self doubt. Stay strong Kuldeep!
— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) February 5, 2021
Here’s how fans reacted:
Will be interesting to know why Kuldeep Yadav was left out. Is it for playing Washington Sundar without Axar Patel to give batting depth? #INDvENG
— Niharika Raina (@niharika_raina) February 5, 2021
There’s no justice for Kuldeep. Akshar injured, so the reserve bowler plays.#kuldeepyadav
— Maheen (@Said92343198) February 5, 2021
Being Kuldeep Yadav is so so Tough. Was the 2nd Main spinner in the squad but still didnt got a chance…
— (@Wtf_Sujalll) February 5, 2021
Apart from the spin department, India went into the match with two frontline fast bowlers in Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma,
While Bumrah is making his home Test debut, senior fast bowler Ishant returned to the side after an injury layoff which kept him out of the Australia tour.
Skipper Virat Kohli also returned to the side following his paternity leave, with Mayank Agarwal making way for him.
Ashiwn, who also missed the Brisbane Test, returned while Washington Sundar was included in the side as an all-rounder to strengthen the batting, and Nadeem, the left-arm orthodox, was brought in to bring in more variation in the spin department.
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