Indian captain Virat Kohli went in the second Test at Lord’s full of confidence after a tightly fought loss at Edgbaston. However, rains played spoilsport as the first day was washed out and when England won the toss and put India into bat, overcast conditions were favoring the England bowlers.
When Virat Kohli announced his playing XI, many people were shocked to hear the name of Kuldeep Yadav in the team in place of Umesh Yadav. Many had thought that India would play a pure seamer in such conditions helpful to the fast bowlers.
Kohli was criticized for not playing an extra spinner at Birmingham and now not playing an extra seamer hampered India’s chances to build on a good start of reducing England for 89/4. Indian spinners R Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav were rendered toothless in overcast conditions.
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly said to TOI, "Yes, we needed the extra pacer on this pitch. It's true that till the ball rolls, it's very difficult to say how it's going to play, but Umesh was needed on this pitch.”
Speaking of his decision to play two spinners in Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh at Headingley in 2002, Ganguly said, "My idea was to go with my best five bowlers. Kuldeep is a good bowler but on these conditions, the extra pacer would probably have been the right option.”
"You could see the conditions were heavily in the pacers' favor, especially after the rain," Harbhajan said.
"It happens sometimes. Kohli does a lot of things right, there can be the odd mistake. Let's give him the benefit of doubt here," Ganguly said.
(with inputs from Times of India)