Wrist-spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal were the chief architects of India’s dominance in white-ball cricket during the 2017-19 period.
The pair, referred as ‘Kulcha’ by the fans, used to demolish the opposition batting line-up and kept R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja out of the limited-overs set-up for close to two years.
However, they are now struggling to feature in the playing XI together. The league match against England during the 2019 World Cup was the last time when Kuldeep and Chahal bowled in tandem for India.
With India’s second-string team slated to play Sri Lanka in a limited-overs series from July 18, Kuldeep and Chahal could be seen in action together once again.
Ahead of the series, former India pacer Ajit Agarkar has said that both the spinners need to regain form if they want to be a part of the T20 World Cup squad later this year.
"Sometimes I feel that it was a little bit unfair on him (Kuldeep) to miss out on series. But he needs to get his confidence back and start bowling well. Both him and Chahal know there are guys behind them and if you have a competition, the team will do well," said Agarkar in a virtual press conference, as quoted by ANI.
"Spin has been a little bit of a worry for India, especially after Chahal and Kuldeep stopped playing together but there are players like Rahul Chahar, Varun Chakraborty and if those guys can do well, it will give more options to Virat Kohli.
"T20 World Cup is not too far away so it is a good opportunity for the guys to put pressure on players who are already in the team to make their case. These performances won't get unnoticed," he added.
After years of grinding in domestic cricket, Suryakumar Yadav received his maiden India call-up earlier this year for the England T20I series at home and he justified his selection with two fine knocks.
While the right-hander didn’t get an opportunity to bat on his debut match, he scored 57 off 31 balls in the fourth T20I and followed it with a brilliant cameo of 17-ball 32.
On the other hand, wicketkeeper-batsman Ishan Kishan too impressed one and all with a fine innings of 56 on his T20I debut against England.
"Suryakumar looks front runner to me this point, one or two performances do not necessarily cement your place but he has been a versatile player. He started his T20 career in the IPL lower down the order and has progressively moved up," Agarkar opined.
"Ishan Kishan had a really good last IPL and had fifty on a debut too. I am only taking two names because there are lots of names in the list but these are the two guys who played and did well in the T20I for India," he further remarked.
Ajit Agarkar feels the players who are more consistent in the upcoming white-ball games might get a spot in the World Cup squad.
"There are always those two or three slots the guys are fighting for, and that's why it becomes a lot more important for the consistency coming up ahead of the World Cup.
"It's an opportunity for these guys to cement their place and there is an IPL as well, so there are lots of opportunities coming in especially in white-ball cricket. The players who are more consistent than others will get a chance, looking at what team management plans are," he said.
(With ANI inputs)