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'Seems Kuldeep Yadav was not in good books of the then India captain, coach'

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By Chetan Sharma

New Delhi, Dec 14 (IANS) Despite being in top form, left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav didn’t get the continuous opportunities and was eventually sidelined because it seems he was not in the ‘good books’ of the then Team India captain and coach, says his childhood coach Kapil Dev Pandey.

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Yadav has had a rough ride in the past two years, after a five-wicket haul in Sydney, when head coach Ravi Shastri had termed him as India’s No 1 spinner in overseas conditions in 2019.

In the last couple of years, the UP-born spinner, for various reasons, has been moved down the pecking order among spinners in India. The Indian team management lost faith in his abilities even on rank turners, where classical left-arm orthodox Shahbaz Nadeem was picked from among the stand-bys, but Yadav, who was in the main squad, didn’t get a chance in October 2019.

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He has not been able to nail down his spot in Test cricket, where Yadav has picked 26 wickets at an average of 23.85. However, he fell behind in the pecking order as R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja became the preferred options in the longest format.

However, his coach Pandey thinks otherwise. “Ashwin and Jadeja are really good but even when Kuldeep was performing wel’, he didn’t get a chance. He was sidelined because of some liking/disliking issues with the captain and coach at that time, I guess. Even before the injury, he was dropped from the national side.

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“Some say that his form was an issue but tell me, how many opportunities did he get? He was taking wickets. You can’t expect six wickets in six balls. It seems he was actually not in the good books of coach and captain, and that was the only reason he missed it,” the coach told IANS.

Yadav’s IPL franchise Kolkata Knight Riders too had ignored him for mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy in the first leg of IPL 14 in India. And later, KKR chose to release Yadav for the IPL mega auction, slated to be held next year.

Yadav, who has been missing out of action since being ruled out of the second leg of Indian Premier League (IPL) 14 due to a knee injury, has finally returned to regular training.

The Chinaman underwent knee surgery in September and has been on the path of recovery at the National Cricket Academy, Bengaluru.

“I had a word with him, he is recovering well and I told him to focus on the future and forget the past. I believe the new coach and captain will give him a chance to prove his mettle once again. He is a world-class spinner and needs to be in national colours soon,” Kapil Dev Pandey said.

India is scheduled to announce the ODI team for the South Africa series and Kuldeep, if fully fit, has a good chance to make it to the team.

“Let’s hope for the best. If he gets a hundred percent fit then the chances are good,” the coach added.

Yadav joined NCA for injury rehab and has been keeping his fans updated with regular photos and videos. In one of his earlier uploads, the spinner was seen working his batting skills during the net practice at the NCA.

–IANS

cs/bsk

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