NEW DELHI: Indian team management’s call to quit Kuldeep Yadav for the second Test against Bangladesh caused a stir with Harbhajan Singh becoming the latest former player to slam the decision.
Kuldeep was voted man of the match for his role in India’s 188-point victory in the first Test. He won a match eight wickets including a career best 5/40 and scored a crucial 40 runs. But that didn’t seem to have been enough to earn a place in the second test as a setter. Jaydev Unadkat was chosen ahead of him in the playing eleven.
Kuldeep’s shocking exclusion had Harbhajan wondering if the left-arm spinner would “be better off” if he didn’t win “player of the match” awards.
Harbhajan, one of India’s biggest spinners, was completely baffled by the call to drop Kuldeep.
“I think from now on Kuldeep should stop taking five wickets. Who knows he might just play two Test matches in a row!” a sarcastic Harbhajan told PTI when his reaction was solicited.
“Like the last time when he got a five for, before the Chattogram test, he was against Australia in Sydney (5/99) under different conditions. He was supposed to be India’s No.1 spinner in overseas conditions, but he had to wait more than two years to play a test.
“Now he has played again after almost two years and has been dropped again. I would like to know the reason,” said Harbhajan, one of four Indian bowlers to win over 400 wickets.
While Umesh Yadav and running back Unadkat had six wickets between them, the ground was not a tailor’s paradise. R Ashwin also got four wickets. The ground offered assistance to spinners as the skipper of Bangladesh Chkib Al Hasan got some to turn square.
The ‘Turbanator’ also felt that ‘safety’ had just become a word in Indian cricket and no one was following their chops.
“I don’t want to name any players, but some of the players in the Test setup have a long rope, up to five years. In Kuldeep’s case, it looks like his safe duration is five days.
“How safe can he feel if he is dropped after taking eight wickets. Can he play cricket without fear when all the management of the team has done is instill fear in him?” asked Harbhajan.
Harbhajan said he would agree that Bangladesh aren’t the toughest team in Test format, but a benched performer is likely to send the wrong message to youngsters.
“You can never play if there is a sword hanging over your head. I just hope Kuldeep doesn’t lose confidence because of this because he is someone who should serve India for another 8 to 10 good years,” he added.
(With PTI inputs)



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