Spin twins Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal brought back memories as they bowled to the Indian batters at the nets here at the Eden Gardens on Monday.
The duo was part of the selection committee and team management's resurrection drive in 2017 after India's loss to Pakistan in the ICC Champion Trophy. They excelled in each other's company, with inputs from Mahendra Singh Dhoni behind the stumps, and won games for India.
Lack of opportunities and dent in confidence sidelined chinaman bowler Kuldeep in 2019. Later, he sustained injuries to his shoulder and knee. The geeky Chahal, who is always finding ways to improve as a leg-spinner, kept pushing the selectors by his IPL performances but eventually, both of them missed out on the T20 World Cup berth in 2021.
Under new captain Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid, the duo can revive their white-ball careers. They have to be consistent and perhaps contribute with the bat too.
“Kuldeep and Chahal have been a great asset for us in the past, and they will continue to be. It’s just that things should start falling in place for them. We have to give them the confidence and game time, along with the support of the team," Rohit told reporters on Tuesday.
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“At the same time, we have a lot of options. When you are playing the shortest format, you have to look at someone with bowling skills who can bat as well. You are looking at players with two or three different skills and that’s why the other guys get more preference.
“But not to forget that these two guys are wicket-taking options. They can bowl in the powerplay, in the middle or whatever it is. The captain will expect them to flight the ball and pick wickets and this is what they have done in the past," he said. Chahal found his mojo in the ODI series against the West Indies by returning a four-for (4/49) in the first game. The third ODI was Kuldeep's first international game in seven months. He did not disappoint as he picked up two crucial wickets (2/51).
“Chahal has got back his rhythm as I saw in the ODIs, Kuldeep will need some time as he was injured for close to five months. He played an international game after a while. "Wrist spinners need time but the kind of guy Kuldeep is, I am sure he will start looking to get his thing right. He has been already doing that in the nets. My fingers are crossed for Kuldeep and Chahal and hope they come good for us,” said Rohit.
The Indian white-ball side has also included slow left-arm spin bowler Harpreet Brar in the setup. "Harpreet is part of the group, the setup but officially not part of the squad," the skipper confirmed. And since off-spinner Washington Sundar is ruled out due to a hamstring injury, it remains to be seen if young leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi gets a game.