India vs Eng ODI series: Kuldeep Yadav scripts unwanted record; What’s wrong with India’s spin bowling?

Ind vs Eng ODI series: What has happened to Kuldeep's spin bowling?
Ind vs Eng ODI series: What has happened to Kuldeep's spin bowling?

India vs Eng ODI series: Kuldeep Yadav scripts unwanted record; It was another forgettable outing for Kuldeep Yadav as the India spinner failed to provide India with breakthroughs in the middle overs as the hosts slipped to a 6-wicket defeat to England in the 2nd ODI in Pune on Saturday.

Kuldeep Yadav claimed an unwanted Indian record as he gave away 8 sixes in the 2nd ODI. This is the most number of sixes conceded by an Indian in ODI cricket. He surpassed former India fast bowler Vinay Kumar, who had given away 7 sixes against Australia in 2013 in Bengaluru, on the unwanted list.

Ind vs Eng ODI series: Kuldeep Yadav’s travails in recent times

What made the left-arm wrist spinner so successful were strong basics. He could beat the batsmen in flight and maintain good control. Only when these things are working, the variations such as the googly become effective.

But in recent times, Kuldeep Yadav has looked far from his best. Not being played in the first Test against England seems to have plagued his confidence. He was brought into the team for the second game after people questioned his exclusion. But the show was taken over by Axar Patel and Kuldeep became marginalized.

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Ind vs Eng ODI series: Will Kuldeep Yadav regret the lost opportunity?

This series was an opportunity for him to regain his footing. Unfortunately, he found himself bowling on a remorseless wicket with no help for spinners. To be fair, he was up against a very high-quality batsman in Stokes but the sight of him bowling short and wide with a deep extra cover in place to avoid conceding a boundary suggests his confidence was shot.

Confidence seems to be a major factor in Kuldeep’s performance. His body language and countenance often evince a sense of helplessness when things are not going his way. Remember how he even broke down during an IPL game when Moeen Ali went after him. He seems like someone who needs a strong captain behind him. Whether Virat Kohli is suited to that role is uncertain.

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Kuldeep would be aware of the fact that Ravindra Jadeja is likely to return in all formats once he recovers from injury. Then there is his spin bowling partner Yuzvendra Chahal who isn’t far away from the ODI team either. And the newest star of India’s spin battery – Axar Patel – has a legion of fans now.

In such circumstances, every shot for a boundary must feel to Kuldeep like another blow to his reputation and standing in the team. And no species of spinners depend more on confidence than wrist spinners. More prone to committing mistakes due to the innate difficulty of the art, lack of confidence can aggravate a poor performance into a trainwreck, as happened with Kuldeep today. Perhaps a more compassionate and supportive captain is needed for him.

As for Krunal, he is in the team as an all-rounder and thanks to his batting exploits, he can afford to be deficient for a while as a bowler. But if his bowling becomes as ineffective as it was today, then his place in the team may become vulnerable, especially when Jadeja is back.