Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav repeatedly caught English batsmen off-guard in T20Is and held his own in the ODIs on this tour, so his selection for the Test series did not surprise many. The 23-year-old has a backer in former India leg-spinner Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, who feels the Uttar Pradesh player will succeed in England.
"He has done well in the Test matches against Australia and Sri Lanka and has been a regular for his Ranji side. Unlike Adil Rashid, who plays only white ball cricket, Kuldeep plays all the formats. I don't think he has to make too many adjustments.
"He will do well if the conditions suit him. Kuldeep needs to bowl his normal stuff, not overexpose the googly as that is his wicket-taking delivery," Sivaramakrishnan told Sportstar on Monday.
England is witnessing a rather late summer and the conditions are dry, which means Kuldeep will be expected to have an impact in the Test series, starting August 1.
While premier spinner Ravichandran Ashwin looks a certainty, Kuldeep will vie for a spot with Ravindra Jadeja. Sivaramakrishnan believes the team management will pick Kuldeep and Ashwin.
India heads into the first three matches of the five-Test series without the services of seamers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, who are nursing injuries.
"India will miss Bhuvneshwar. But we have Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav. So, more or less, we are well equipped."
The former India leggie said apart from the focus on taking 20 wickets, batting and slip catching need to click. "If they click, India will have a great chance."
He said India will have to stay focused because it's a long Test series. "India needs to take it one match at a time. Although it's warm and sunny there, the ground staff will be working hard, putting more water, trying to get a little bit of green on the pitch."
India will hope for Kuldeep to cast his spell on the Englishmen in the Tests, but he won't have it easy. England Test skipper Joe Root had a fair bit of success in dealing with him in the ODIs, as the host took the series 2-1.
For Sivaramakrishnan, Root is a key player. "England will rely heavily on him and Alastair Cook. Root ranks as one of the top players along with Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson and Steve Smith."
He expressed happiness with Dinesh Karthik's progress. "Karthik is a much more matured player now. He knows what he is doing and knows what is expected of him. I am sure he will do well."
On wicket-keeper-batsman Rishabh Pant earning a Test call-up, Sivaramakrishnan said the youngster will benefit a lot from being with the team.
"It will be a good experience for him and I am sure Ravi Shastri will give him very good inputs along with the team management. His batting is very attacking but he needs to change the approach while playing Test cricket. He needs to improve in his shot selection and develop patience in the longer format."
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