The rise of ‘Chinaman’ Kuldeep

The 23-year-old Chinaman bowler has performed his craft expertly. A rich haul (28 ODI wickets) in the West Indies, Sri Lanka and South Africa mentally prepared him for the first part of the England tour.

Kuldeep Yadav at the Lord's on Saturday.   -  Getty Images

Kuldeep Yadav has done well with the white ball in the English summer. He has perplexed the England batsmen in the air and of the pitch.

The 23-year-old Chinaman bowler has performed his craft expertly. A rich haul (28 ODI wickets) in the West Indies, Sri Lanka and South Africa mentally prepared him for the first part of the England tour.

Former India seamer and former chairman of the BCCI junior selection committee Abey Kuruvilla, who has seen Kuldeep’s spectacular rise said: “He’s got better every year. I saw him first when he was 16 or 17 at an under-19 camp in Mysuru (then Mysore). He could bowl the leg-break, googly and much more.

Quality bowler

“Playing against international batsmen has helped him improve faster. There may be a paucity of bowlers of his type in international cricket, but Kuldeep is a quality bowler himself. He is accurate and has proved to be good on slow wickets too. However, red-ball cricket will be different.”

Not many in Test cricket have fancied being Chinaman bowlers. Even West Indian Ellis Achong (1930-35) bowled left-arm googlies for a change as did England’s Johnny Wardle (1948-57), who bowled the wrong-’uns out of curiosity.

Wardle picked up 102 wickets at an economy of 20.39 and much later South Africa’s Paul Adams took 134 at 32.87. Australia’s ‘Chuck’ Fleetwoot-Smith (1935-38) took 42 and Lindsay Kiline (1957-6) 34, including a hat-trick against South Africa.

In all 23 cricketers (545 wickets at 35.87) have bowled left-arm wrist spin in Tests, including Denis Compton, Simon Katich, Ishan Ali, Brad Hogg and Michael Bevan and one among the current lot is Sri Lanka’s Lakshan Sandakan.

The one who did not bowl much and who was considered good was Arthur Morris of the famous ‘Invincibles’.

“He could bowl a good left-arm googly and often (he) bowled it in the nets. But he decided early that his batting would take him further,” said Don Bradman, while choosing his best World XI.

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