Harbhajan Singh has backed India’s wrist-spin sensation Kuldeep Yadav ahead of the seasoned campaigner Ravichandran Ashwin for the upcoming Test series against England.
Kuldeep proved to be the nemesis for English batsmen during the limited-overs rubber, claiming 5 wickets in two T20Is and 9 scalps in three ODIs. Owing to his astonishing five-wicket haul, India had registered an emphatic eight-wicket win in the first T20I at Old Trafford while his 6-fer in the first ODI at Trent Bridge secured another resounding eight-wicket triumph for the Men in Blue.
"If it comes to one spinner that I have to choose, I'll pick Kuldeep Yadav. In these conditions, he is someone, who has bowled a lot in last six games or so and he has been one of the pick of the bowlers from Indian point of view,” Harbhajan quoted as saying by India Today.
"Yes! England have managed to play him well in the last two games or so but I still think that Kuldeep will be the key man for India going forward in this Test series. If at all I have to pick one spinner, I'll pick Kuldeep ahead of Ashwin," he added.
Having made his debut during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in March 2017, Kuldeep has represented India in 2 Tests, picking up 9 wickets at an impressive average of 20.77. While Yadav had taken 4/68 to secure the series decider Dharamsala Test for India, he had recorded his career-best figures (4/40) in the first innings of the Pallekele Test against Sri Lanka.
Although Kuldeep was part of India’s squad for the one-off Test against Afghanistan last month, he didn’t get a chance due to the presence of Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
The highly-anticipated Test series between India and England will commence on August 1 at Edgbaston in Birmingham. Lord’s will host the second Test while Trent Bridge, Rose Bowl and The Oval will stage the third, fourth and fifth Test respectively.
India squad for first three Tests against England:
Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, M Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Karun Nair, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Rishabh Pant, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur.
Aug 01 - Aug 05, 1st Test – Edgbaston, Birmingham
Aug 09 - Aug 13, 2nd Test – Lord's, London
Aug 18 - Aug 22, 3rd Test – Trent Bridge, Nottingham
Aug 30 - Sep 03, 4th Test – The Rose Bowl, Southampton
Sep 07 - Sep 11, 5th Test – Kennington Oval, London