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Kuldeep Yadav: An Overseas Bet For India

Ravi Shastri went on record to declare that Kuldeep Yadav would be India’s first preferred spinner for the upcoming overseas test matches.

Last updated: 14.02.2019
Kuldeep Yadav | Sports Social Blog

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Recently the head coach of the Indian cricket team, Ravi Shastri went on record to declare that Kuldeep Yadav would be India’s first preferred spinner for the upcoming overseas test matches. Shastri said, “There is a time for everyone. But now Kuldeep is our frontline number one overseas spinner.” The problem with the statement is the person on whom Shastri is putting his faith on has hardly any experience in test matches outside India.

Promising Newcomer In Test

Kuldeep Yadav played six test matches since his debut in 2017. He took 24 wickets in those matches at an average of 24.12. His economy rate is 3.51 currently.  He till date has played three tests each for the home and overseas.


In his first test match against Australia at Dharamshala Kuldeep announced himself with a wonderful display of Chinaman bowling. Winning the toss Australia looked like taking the early initiative with a hundred plus runs partnership between Warner and Smith when the stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane introduced Kuldeep with immediate result. One Kuldeep delivery jumped slight extra and surprised Warner to get the edge, pouched by Rahane at the slips. He ran through the Australian middle order to finish his first test innings with four wickets for 68 runs. Apart from this Kuldeep has one more four-wicket haul against West Indies. His best home performance also came in the series against West Indies in 2018 when he managed to take six wickets (6/119) in that test match.

His three overseas test matches have two five-wicket hauls. The first one was against Sri Lanka in 2017 at Pallekele and the second was against Australia in the last concluded series at Sydney. At Sydney, he took 5/99 in 31.5 overs at an economy rate of 3.10 and six maidens. India was already leading the series 2-1. Virat Kohli, winning the toss elected to bat first and likewise, Indian team put a mammoth score of 622. Australia looked fragile from the beginning with only Marcus Harris tried to put up a fight. In an unfavourable condition, Kuldeep Yadav produced a brilliant spell to pick up five wickets in quick intervals. Thanks to him that the Aussie never got a chance to work on any partnerships.

At this stage, Kuldeep’s overseas test bowling average is marginally better than his home performance. However, only six test matches is a very small sample size to make a judgment. But Kuldeep has given some very strong performances in limited overs cricket overseas as well till now.

Limited Overs Match Winner

He played 11 One Day Internationals at home and took 20 wickets at an average of 24.75. His best performance in the home came against Sri Lanka at Visakhapatnam in 2017. On the other hand, he played 22 overseas ODI matches and took 47 wickets at an average of 18.25. He took 6 scalps for 25 runs against England at Nottingham in 2018. It was all about Kuldeep for the English top order except for the wicket of Eoin Morgan who was picked up by Chahal. Even in T20 Internationals, Kuldeep has 21 wickets from 10 away matches with an astonishing average of 11.47 and already has a five-wicket haul. In his short career span, Kuldeep Yadav has become a good bet for the Indian team for overseas ventures.

Spinning Trio

But for last few years, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have shouldered the Indian spin bowling responsibilities in both home and away for India. However, for both of them, their away performance in the test is vastly inferior compared to their home records. For Ashwin, the test bowling average in the home is 22.68 and the overseas average is 31.39. For Jadeja, the home and away difference in test quite far. In the home, Jadeja’s test bowling average is 19.70 whereas his overseas average is 35.62. Even with the very little sample size clearly, Kuldeep Yadav’s test performance for away is better than the duo.  For limited overs also Kuldeep Yadav is way ahead of these two, especially in the away matches.

The Ex-factor

Kuldeep Yadav is also a special bowler with a unique bowling talent. He is India’s first Chinaman bowler that makes him even more special. Chinaman bowling is basically a delivery that comes from a left-arm and goes in the right direction. In other words, it is bowled over the wrist to turn the opposite way to orthodox left-arm spin. History of cricket hasn’t seen a lot of the Chinaman bowlers as Chinaman bowling is a rare trait. This bowling can confuse world-class batters at any point. A Chinaman’s delivery goes off to leg for a right-hand batter whereas the googly goes straight on. Ravindra Jadeja is an orthodox left-arm spinner but Kuldeep Yadav is the exact opposite to that. Till now world cricket has seen very few Chinaman bowlers like Paul Adams and Brad Hogg.

Currently, the Indian bowling attack is one of the best in their history which offers diverse bowling options. There are four main spinners playing regularly across different formats. An off spinner in Ashwin for test matches, a leg spinner in Chahal for limited over matches, a left-arm orthodox in Jadeja and finally a left arm Chinaman in Kuldeep. Among all four Kuldeep looks to be the strongest option who provides variety and a unique bowling option for India. Kuldeep had a great 2018. He should play a key role in 2019 and make himself a sure starter in test eleven in both home and away.

Watch Video: Kuldeep Yadav magical deliveries

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