Kuldeep could be handy in Tests, says Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar believes the wrist spinner “will be very much in action and so will be the other Indian spinners.”

Kuldeep Yadav is hard to read off the pitch, observes Tendulkar.   -  V. V. Krishnan

Despite England’s fading discomfort in tackling Kuldeep Yadav, Sachin Tendulkar believes the wrist-spinner could be potent in the upcoming Test series.

In a chat with PTI on Saturday, Tendulkar said, “Whatever I saw on television, [Joe] Root picked Kuldeep from his hand and did that really well. Now Kuldeep’s wrist action is a complex one and once he lands the ball, I don’t think too many batsmen in world cricket have got the ability to tackle him off the pitch. Root could afford to play Kuldeep late because he was picking his wrist position early.”

Tendulkar did not think this apparent mastery would be ominous for the Indian team. “I don’t think all the other England batsmen have played Kuldeep well. The kind of weather that has been in England with the sun baking the pitches, Kuldeep will be very much in action and so will be the other Indian spinners. If the pitches remain flat and dry like the ones during the limited-overs leg, India are in with a very good chance. But if it’s a green top, obviously, the England seamers will come into the play,” he said.

The Bhuvneshwar setback

However, Tendulkar did accept India will be hampered by the absence due to injury of seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He said, “Bhuvi’s injury (stiff back) is a real setback for India. I for one was expecting a lot from him. He has over the years performed at a level that you expect a certain kind of performance from him. With his ability to swing the ball, he was going to be very critical to India’s scheme of things during the Test series. And let’s not forget those runs that Bhuvi scored in England during the last series (in 2014). He is a decent enough batsman, who could string those partnerships at the back end of the innings. But then, I believe that we still have a lot of quality in our pace department.”

Read: Saha to undergo shoulder surgery in Manchester

Bumrah, who is also injured, would have been more of a weapon in the ODIs, indicated Tendulkar. “Bumrah was certainly missed by India in the ODI series during those crucial death overs where he has been a champion bowler. He has started off well in Test cricket and this series is a wonderful opportunity for him. But he is expected to come back during second Test. So I am hoping for the best,” he said.

Not a ‘depleted’ side

Yet, Tendulkar refused to term the side “depleted” and offered optimism about India’s chances. He said, “Let me give you an example of my playing days. I was the captain during the 1997 Sahara Cup in Toronto. The Indian team didn’t have Javagal Srinath, Venkatesh Prasad and Anil Kumble. Yet, we beat Pakistan 4-1. I don’t think we should call India a depleted side as it is being unfair to the others, who will be playing in the series.”

He added, “What I am trying to say is that you might just get the best out of your resources in adverse conditions. Just because you don’t have certain key players doesn’t mean that you will have a certain kind of result. It never happens like that in any sport. Accepted that it’s not a great thing to go into a big series without your key player but then you just have to move on and focus on your job ahead.”

Tendulkar was confident Virat Kohli will turn the tide in England. “Virat’s 2014 performance has got nothing to do with how he would perform in the upcoming series. And it’s not just about Virat’s performance. If you ask me if I am hopeful of a good show from Virat, my answer would be ‘Why only Virat?’ I am hopeful of a good show from the Indian team. It’s the team that needs to perform well,” Tendulkar concluded.

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

IPL Special

  Dugout videos