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If India Play Only One Spinner in England Tests, it Should be Kuldeep Yadav: Maninder Singh

Baidurjo Bhose | July 13, 2018, 4:08 PM IST

New Delhi: An old saying goes that a player is only as good as his captain thinks he is. And former India spinner Maninder Singh believes that Kuldeep Yadav’s brilliant show in the ongoing series against England is the result of this very confidence that skipper Virat Kohli has started to show in him.

Speaking to CricketNext after Yadav once again ran through the England batting order in the opening ODI at Trent Bridge on Thursday, Singh said that it is the spinner’s consistency and confidence that has made him a world-class bowler.

“I really like this boy’s attitude and his desire to learn,” Singh said. “He is keen to ask the seniors of areas he can improve and is always looking to work on his game. There is no end to learning and the moment you realise that, there is no scope of complacency."

“Also, I think Kohli’s increasing trust on him has helped. We all know the scenario wherein former coach Anil Kumble and Kohli had a difference in opinion on playing the spinner in the Dharamsala Test against Australia. But things have changed and that has helped Yadav also gain confidence.”

So, does Singh see the youngster breaking into the Test XI in the upcoming series against England?

“If you ask me, very much. If you play only one spinner, it should be Kuldeep Yadav and there is no two ways about it,” he said. “The guy is in great form and deserves his opportunity.”

Singh feels that the similarity in wrist position even when Yadav is varying his deliveries is what makes him special.

“While you have to realise that the English batsmen aren’t really reading him off the wrist and have relied on reading him off the pitch, the close-in shots of his wrist positions while bowling the leg-spinner, googly or straighter one shows that there is minimal change in the position of the wrist or the arm speed,” he explained. “That makes it all the more difficult as video analysis helps when there is a visible difference in wrist positioning at the time of release.”

The former left-arm spinner also feels that Yadav has reached a zone where his accuracy is his strength and that gives him added confidence.

“If you keep a close watch, you will see that he will keep bowling in the right areas and not give you too many bad balls,” he said. “This is his strength as it is very difficult to be pin-point accurate when it comes to bowling left-arm wrist spin. There have been similar bowlers before as well, but lack of accuracy has seen them leak runs and not make an impact."

“In Yadav’s case, another good thing is that he looks to work on his strength and bowl to his field rather than pre-empting too much on what the batsman might try to do. It is always good to believe in your own abilities.”

Former Kolkata Knight Riders assistant coach Vijay Dahiya also worked closely with the spinner in his formative years and feels that working in tandem with former Australia and KKR bowler Brad Hogg helped him understand his game further.

“When you have an experienced campaigner like Hogg around, you learn a lot,” Dahiya told CricketNext. “One of the major areas of concern for Kuldeep was that he was a bit slow off the wicket. If the batsmen can read you off the pitch, that reduces the threat. You can’t give the batsmen time to read you off the wicket at the international level. And I feel that is the area where he has worked on."

“He would keep talking to Hogg about the nuances of chinaman bowling and what we see today is the result of a lot of hardwork behind the scenes. Being young also helps because then you are much more open to ideas and look at learning from the senior pros.”

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