Kuldeep Yadav should be included in the playing XI for the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy between India and Australia, feels former India Test cricketer Bobby Narasimha Rao. The former India all-rounder who is in the city for the launch of his book titled ‘BOBBY – India and Ireland, A Love Story’ feels that India starts as favourite against the Aussies in the four-match Test series.
India will take on Australia in the first Test starting in Nagpur on February 9 followed by the second and third in Delhi and Dharamsala with Ahmedabad poised to host the final Test in March.
“In my opinion, Kuldeep must play as the wrist spinner gives India a wicket-taking option and he has done really well recently. He will be the key to India’s success in the upcoming Test series against Australia,” Bobby told Sportstar in an exclusive interaction at his residence.
The book launch event will be graced by Roger Binny, president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) along with former India Test legend VVS Laxman and other noted cricketers at the Secunderabad Club on Saturday.
“India has been playing well across formats and the World Test Championship is going to be a very special one. The balance of the team is good and we have the arsenal to beat Australia at home. It’s going to be a very good series,” he said.
Bobby, as fondly called in the cricketing circles, played four Test matches for India and led Hyderabad to a historic Ranji Trophy triumph in 1987.
A 4-0 clean sweep will be crucial for India’s top-two finish in the WTC standings and qualifying for the final. Mohammed Siraj will be the pace spearhead in the absence of Jasprit Bumrah and the veteran cricketer said the pacer should have been handled better.
“With his action, he is bound to get injured and I personally feel he should have been handled a little better. He is a vital cog in this Indian team and his impact has been tremendous as far as bowling is concern. But we have got Siraj, who is exciting to watch and it’s very heartening to watch Hyderabad produce a fast bowler like Siraj. He has got a very bright future but consistency will be the key,” Bobby said.
Another fast bowler that excites the 68-year-old, who has also played for Ireland, is Umran Malik.
“What a talent and the youngster has shown great promise in the little what I have seen. He should not compromise on pace as that is his strength and will emerge as one of the best fast bowlers going forward. Overall, the current pool of players are really good,” he said.
The Test squad for the first two Tests against Australia has Ishan Kishan and KS Bharat as designated wicket-keepers in place of Rishabh Pant who is recovering from a car crash. Bobby feels Ishan has the edge over Bharat, purely because of his ability to play game-changing innings with the bat.
“Ishan most likely will get the go-ahead and it is on his batting ability. Ishan has the capability to change the complexion of the game in a session. Bharat too is a deserving candidate but Ishan’s exploits with the bat make him the favourite to don the keeping gloves,” he said.