England vs India: Tests will be a different ball game for Kuldeep Yadav, feels Alec Stewart

England vs India: Tests will be a different ball game for Kuldeep Yadav, feels Alec Stewart

Kuldeep may very well make his Test debut against England in the five-match Test series.

Kuldeep Yadav
Indian cricketer Kuldeep Yadav celebrates with his teammates. (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

He has been India’s high point in the England series so far but though ‘Chinaman’ Kuldeep Yadav has generated a lot of interest in the hosts’ ranks, former England captain Alec Stewart is of the opinion that Test matches will be a completely different ball game for the 23-year-old bowler if he gets to play the opening Test at Edgbaston starting August 1 in place of the experienced Ravichandran Ashwin.

“I am a massive fan of Ashwin and he is an impressive performer. (Ravindra) Jadeja has had some good success against England as well. But if someone has got mystery, you might want to play him,” the 55-year-old former English wicket-keeper told Press Trust of India in an interview.

“Virat (Kohli), as a captain, is very positive and will back an attacking bowler. He will possibly believe that Kuldeep has more to offer than Ashwin or Jadeja, and then that’s the route Virat will take. And then the wrist spinner has to perform, and replicate with the red ball what he has done with the white ball. We won’t know until he is given a go,” he added.

Stewart, who played 133 Tests for England between 1990 and 2003, also explained the practical difficulties the left-arm spinner might face in the longest format. He said Yadav won’t have four fielders at the boundary and neither the batsmen will be in a mindset to score always. He would have to produce enough good balls to make the batsmen think, just like he has been doing in the formats played with the white ball.

Stewart said in the ODIs and T20Is, even bad balls can fetch wickets but in Tests, the bowler has to make more adjustments as in a “game of cat and mouse” and Yadav’s test lies in that.

Kuldeep raring to go in Tests

Yadav has played only two Tests so far since his debut against Australia last year and has nine wickets in his tally so far. He has been more successful in the limited over formats on the other hand and registered his best bowling performances (5 for 24 in T20Is) and (6 for 25 in ODIs) in this tour.

Stewart also felt that English batsman’s Joe Root’s successful reading of Yadav during the ODI series that the hosts won 2-1 will have an impact on the upcoming Test series.

“A mystery spinner creates doubts if you haven’t faced much of him, and it makes for great cricket when the batsmen are trying to figure out from 18-22 yards, which way it will go. But England, especially Joe Root, started to work out Kuldeep since Lord’s and the question is how Kuldeep is going to bowl in Test cricket,” Stewart said in the interview.

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