Chinaman Ballabad Kuldeep Yadav has been spearheading the spin aggression of the Indian cricket team since June 2017 along with Yuzvendra Chahal but his form and luck have not been with him in the last one year. His previous performance and Virat Kohli’s support appear to be the two reasons why the selectors selected him in the ODI squad for the tour of Australia. However, his form in this format has not been very good recently. Kuldeep did not get a place in the T20 team.
In the World Cup played last year, England batsmen scored fiercely on Kuldeep’s balls. Since he had scored 72 runs in 10 overs, this bowler has not been able to leave much impact. He made his debut on 23 June 2017 and by 29 June 2019, a day before the match against England, he had taken 91 wickets in 49 matches at an average of 23.06. During this time, his economy rate was 4.88. He got a wicket after every 28.3 balls.
After this, the next phase of his career saw a decline in his performance. From 1 July 2019 to 5 February 2020, when he played his last ODI, he has taken 12 wickets in 10 matches. He averaged 45.83 in this phase and gave 5.97 runs per over. Looking at the figures of wicket taking, he has taken wickets after every 46th ball.
In his last ODI played at Hamilton, Kuldeep took 84 runs in 10 overs. Prior to that, in the four matches which he played against Australia and West Indies in India, runs were spent more and took less wickets. It is clear that his form has declined in ODIs, yet one of the reasons for his selection in the team may be that the team does not have more experienced wrist spinners in ODIs.
Wrist spin will be important on Australia’s bouncy pitches. The Indian team could also give an opportunity to veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who has done well in the IPL playing with Delhi Capitals. Kuldeep’s return to T20 has been shattered by his IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders partner Varun Chakraborty.
If you look at his IPL performance this time, he is ranked 70th in the wicket-taking list. This season Kuldeep played five matches for Kolkata and took just one wicket. It is clear that time is running out for Kuldeep and this may be his last chance to make an impact. Will have to see if he can make an impact or not.