Former Australian batsman Mike Hussey is of the view that Indian should prefer ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin over left-arm chinaman Kuldeep Yadav in the upcoming five-Test series against England starting August 1 in Birmingham. Also Read - Virat Kohli Recalls How He Earned MS Dhoni's Trust For India Captaincy, Says Becoming Skipper Not Even in my Wildest Dreams
“I don’t know what the selectors are thinking. Personally, I feel Ashwin should play ahead of Kuldeep. He has more than 300 Test wickets. Ashwin deserves his place in the starting XI,” PTI quoted Hussey as saying. Also Read - Natural to Put Saliva on Ball, Will Take Some Practise to Avoid it: Ravichandran Ashwin
“Ashwin against the left-handers could play a big role. Kuldeep has done brilliantly but I feel India should persist with Ashwin. Kuldeep is young and can learn along the way,” he added. Also Read - Ravichandran Ashwin is The Best Off-Spinner in The World: Harbhajan Singh
In the past few years, Ashwin has emerged as a key figure of the Indian team and his efforts with the ball have helped the team to attain the top spot in ICC Test rankings. He has given some outstanding performances on the home soil and led India to victory single-handedly. The off-spinner holds the record for being the fastest to pick up 300 Test wickets.
Kuldeep found a spot in the Test squad for the first three games following his brilliant performance in the limited-overs leg in the ongoing UK Tour. He started the tour with 4/21 and 3/16 in the two T20Is in Ireland and then got 5/24 in the first T20I against England. Before the second T20, English batsmen resorted to ‘Merlyn’, the spin-bowling machine, and Kuldeep failed to pick up a wicket in Cardiff.
Later on, he was dropped from the series decider at Bristol which India won to seal the series. The left-arm chinaman displayed some impressive bowling performance in the three-match ODI series England where he took nine wickets including 6 for 25 in the first match at Trent Bridge.
England’s batsmen appeared completely at sea against Kuldeep’s variation but they finally seemed to come to grips with him in the final ODI of the series which the hosts won 2-1. The spinner went for 0-55 in that match. However, the 24-year-old may still turn out to be a superstar for Virat Kohli and Co in the Test series.
Former Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar has also backed Yadav’s inclusion in Test series, saying the wrist-spinner could prove quite a handful against Joe Root and his men.
“I have always maintained that he’s ready for the longest version of the game and that will be the most challenging one,” Tendulkar told Reuters in an interview. “I think he’s ready.” “Looking at his repertoire he has the capability to go there and compete, without any doubt,” the 44-year-old added.
(With PTI Inputs)