Tendulkar: 'Chahal, Yadav give India advantage at 2019 World Cup'

After their recent exploits in South Africa, Tendulkar believes that the two wrist-spinners could be game-changer for India at next year’s World Cup.

Sachin Tendulkar, speaking at The Huddle event - The Hindu's second edition of idea conclave in Bengaluru.   -  K. MURALI KUMAR

Sachin Tendulkar has hailed the impact of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, believing that the two wrist-spinners have given India a firm advantage over other sides ahead of next year's World Cup.

"We're also winning matches because of the middle overs, when our two wrist-spinners are bowling," he said at The Huddle 2018, organised by The Hindu, here on Saturday. "It's heartwarming. They have been bowling well in tandem and it's fantastic. The rest of the world is yet to figure out how to play them."

Chahal and Yadav have tied South Africa in knots this last fortnight, taking 33 wickets between them as India won the six-game ODI series 5-1.

"When you play against them in T20 cricket, you can still get away with all those experiments -- reverse sweeps over short third-man and scoop shots over the keeper's head. But in a longer match you can't do all those things. You've got to know how to tackle those two bowlers in between. I feel they are going to be key factors," Tendulkar said.

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He added: "When Kuldeep made his debut for India in Dharamsala, he had bowled three balls and I posted a message saying he had a bright future. I firmly believe wrist spin can add a lot of value and they have proven it in conditions not known to help spinners. The beauty of wrist spinners is that the surface doesn't matter; it's what you do in the air."

Could Chahal and Yadav enjoy the same success in Test cricket, Tendulkar was asked. "It's a tougher job to go out and pick wickets in Test cricket but that is something the whole world is not used to. Everyone is watching all these games. Before they get used to it and try and figure out...What are the right options to score runs? How do we survive? How do we block? Before they figure that out, let's try and win as many games as possible," he said.

Was India favourite to win the 2019 World Cup? "We better be after this performance," said Tendulkar.

The maestro was also full of praise for young Indian women's star Jemimah Rodrigues. The 17-year-old from Mumbai, who on Monday impressed on her India debut in the first T20 against South Africa, had called on Tendulkar at his home before the tour. "She said, 'I want to spend some time with you, and understand how to play in South African conditions.' I invited her over. She came home with her father and started talking about how to prepare.

I said, 'Don't worry; you have to go there and play only cricket and not hockey'. I did not realize that she was a State-level hockey player as well!"

Tendulkar added: "Even more fascinating was the encouragement she had got from her father. Normally the tendency if it's a girl child is to ask if you want to become a doctor or an engineer. But here the father had different problems -- hockey or cricket? It's nice to know. Very well done to that family."