File photo of Gautam Gambhir© AFP
After the limited-overs series against Sri Lanka and New Zealand, Team India will be facing a big task against Australia in a four-match Test series starting next month. Any contest between the two sides currently holds the top two spots in the World Test Championship table is always a highly-anticipated affair. As Team India slowly builds up for that series, there is huge anticipation over the squad that will be picked by the Indian selectors. Spin has always been a major factor while deciding the course of a series in India, and Gautam Gambhir feels that Kuldeep Yadav is going to be the ‘x-factor’ for India ahead of veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and left-arm spinner Axar Patel.
On Thursday in the second ODI against Sri Lanka, Kuldeep, snubbed time and again by the Indian think-tank, proved his mettle yet another time as he formed a lovely bowling alliance with pacer Mohammed Siraj (3/30) to demolish Sri Lanka for 215 inside 40 overs after they opted to bat. Kuldeep returned with figures of 3/51 in 10 overs and won the ‘Man of the Match’ award. India won the match by four wickets with KL Rahul staying unbeaten on 64. Courtesy of Kuldeep and Rahul’s performance, India took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
“He was always there. It’s just about his confidence. Whatever we have seen of Rohit Sharma he has that ability to give that confidence to young bowlers. Now it’s time that they should persist with Kuldeep Yadav. His bowing a lot in international cricket will be crucial in the Australia Test series. If you keep him in the sheds and don’t make him play one-day format and you suddenly bring him for the Test series, there’s going to be less bowling under his belt,” Gautam Gambhir said on Star Sports after the second ODI.
“I feel that he should be playing every 50-over format game till the Australia Test series because he is going to be very important factor in that series. For me, he is going to be the x-factor ahead of R Ashwin, Axar Patel.”
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