India’s decision to leave Kuldeep Yadav from the second Test against Bangladesh has left everyone shocked. The left-arm wrist-spinner, who bagged eight wickets in the previous Test in Chattogram, was dropped from the Playing XI with India adding an extra pacer in Jaydev Unadkat. While Unadkat finally had his moment under the sun, playing his first Test for India in 12 years, Kuldeep’s omission stumped everyone – from former cricketers to fans alike.
The decision was revealed by KL Rahul during the toss, who looked rather uncomfortable addressing it. The Dhaka pitch in Mirpur wore a green look and while it may not be an ideal wicket for pacers, Rahul revealed he could not read the surface, and went with what a ‘experts, coaching staff and seniors’ decided. The India stand-in captain looked awkward as he explained the decision to leave Kuldeep out and getting Unadkat into the Playing XI instead.
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“It’s a confusing wicket. There is a lot of grass. I’m not too disappointed because I have no idea what to expect from this pitch. I’ve taken advice from the experts: the coaching staff and seniors, to learn more about the pitch. We have confidence from the win in our first Test, and we need to get our mind in here. It might be damp in the first session, getting early wickets would be good. We have Jaydev Unadkat come in for Kuldeep Yadav. Hard decision on Kuldeep but we know Ashwin and Axar can find spin, and bring Jaydev in to cover all bases,” Rahul said during the toss.
This is the second time that Kuldeep has been left out of India’s Test XI after picking up a five-wicket-haul – he had picked 5/40 in Bangladesh’s first innings – in the previous game. Almost four years ago, Kuldeep found himself in a similar boat when after grabbing 5/99 against Australia in Sydney during the 2018/19 Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
In fact, Kuldeep’s five-for was the first time in 64 years that a chinaman bowler had claimed a five-wicket-haul in Australia. But he had to wait another two years to play his second Test – the second match against England in 2021. If that wasn’t long enough, Kuldeep’s Test in Chattogram was his first in nearly two years, and given this pattern, who knows how long will he have to wait further for his next outing in whites for India.
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