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T20 WC: 'Kuldeep can add extra bit of wicket-taking flair'

Source: PTI
June 18, 2024 14:58 IST
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'You can't be so set in one way of playing that you miss the opportunities to take advantage of conditions.'

IMAGE: Kuldeep Yadav didn't et a single game in the group stage with India preferring to include Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja. Photograph: BCCI

India may have a set bowling combination, but New Zealand great Stephen Fleming feels inclusion of left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav can provide that 'extra bit of wicket-taking flair' as the Caribbean wickets are expected to offer turn in the Super 8 stage of the T20 World Cup.

India have so far gone with three pacers -- Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj and Arshdeep Singh and two spinners -- Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel in their playing XI for the first three matches in the group stages of the T20 World Cup.


"I would think maybe Kuldeep would come in to provide that extra bit of wicket-taking flair if the wickets do provide the turn as they get a little bit more used and you get closer to the end of the tournament," he told ESPNCricinfo.

"But they've still got that opportunity now to do both which is good and horses for courses, you can't be so set in one way of playing that you miss the opportunities to take advantage of conditions."

India have qualified to Super 8 as Group A toppers and they will face Afghanistan in Barbados on Thursday in their first match of the second leg of the tournament.

India have played two left-arm spin allrounders and while Axar has been among wickets, Jadeja still hasn't quite fired and bowled just three overs in three matches.

Fleming, who has been a long-time coach of IPL side Chennai Super Kings, doesn't see any problem in playing two players with the same skill sets.

"Mitchell Santner and Jadeja sort of do the same role for us in CSK and we sometimes find it hard around selection to get eight overs of exactly the same skill set, they are different bowlers, they bowl differently but both of them when conditions are right can be a real handful.

"So with their all-round skills and their batting skills it allows India to try that and Jadeja in the right conditions can be incredibly dangerous which we've seen over many years, as Axar can provide a different type of attack where conditions are slightly different like in New York.

"So, there are subtleties around them both but again, and I hate that notion of left-handers can't bowl to left-hand batters so we can dispel that myth and both of those players can hopefully play along."

India couldn't accommodate the talented Yashasvi Jaiswal in the line-up with Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma opening the innings and Rishabh Pant coming at No 3.

Talking about India's combination, the former Kiwi skipper said: "They had to make some hard calls while Jaiswal was a great player, that's leaving out top quality players is always difficult... But I like the job they've done, they've got through.

"This is a team that in some ways is picked for the finals in my view, it's a team that has spinners that can dominate, it has players that can dominate spin and we've seen spin in the West Indies play quite a big part, not so much in New York.

"So, I think they've got job done and they've got quite smartly a view of mind, this is how we want to play the key games now going into hopefully the semi-finals and final.

"...they've picked a team that they think may be playing a turning track, this will give us our best chance at the top and has good balance and we've seen that sort of in stops and starts and it's just been because of conditions but I think they're in good shape."

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