Despite averaging an incredible 318 in the ODI series so far, Virat Kohli has praised Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav for their immense contribution to the team’s success. Kohli added that the duo is brave in their bowling and have surpassed all expectations on the current South African tour.
After scoring 112 in the first ODI of the series, Kohli followed it up with an unbeaten 46 in the second match of the series in Centurion. However, it was his unbeaten 160-run innings in the third match of the series that caught the eye as he scored a staggering 100 off those runs by just running between the wickets.
However, true to his nature, Kohli was quick to credit the Indian wrist spinning duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav for their role in guiding India to an unassailable 3-0 lead in the six-match series. The duo has taken a combined 21 wickets in the three matches so far at an average of 9.05 while conceding just 3.63 per over.
"We knew they will pick up wickets. Because wrist spinners, these guys have bowled in flatter batting tracks at home. Some might think they have bowled in T20 cricket when the conditions are very very difficult and they have picked up wickets on a regular basis, you know,” Kohli said in his post-match press conference, reported Cricinfo.
"Here they felt even better because they were getting
“But they are very brave and even on flatter pitches, wrist spinners will also come into play and they have made that difference in the game. They might go for six an over, we knew that, but they will pick up three-four wickets between them. They have done outstandingly well in the last two games picking up a majority of the wickets in both games and being the difference between both sides."
But it is not just the current series that the duo has impressed on the big stage. When they were first picked to represent the country, in Sri Lanka, in the limited overs format over R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, many fans questioned India’s logic of dropping two of their premier spinners for rookies. However, since then, the duo has been absolutely brilliant – be it against Australia, New Zealand at home or even South Africa away.
Their rise to the top of the pecking order has been so impressive that now some fans and pundits are even asking for the duo to be given a shot at the longest format of the game.
"Those are things [Test caps] that are quite a bit away from now. Look they are obviously making a very strong case for themselves, bowling in these conditions and making breakthroughs like we haven't seen before. It's outstanding to see two guys just totally spinning a web around the opposition. There doesn't seem to be a way out at all. It's unbelievable. Taking eight wickets today. Outstanding,” Kohli explained.
"I don't have words to explain this. Credit to them. Both have been working hard on their game. Both are very brave in terms of how they bowl and the kind of fields they want as well. They are very brave tossing the ball and asking the batsman to come out and play a risky shot.
“Hats off to them but the other debate is a bit away from now. You never know what happens in the future but I am really happy at the moment."
While no one can question the talent that the duo possesses, the management’s credit should not be taken away as well. With wrist spinners, there is always a risk of runs coming in bunches to go along with the propensity of wickets coming the team’s way as well. However, as the duo has said themselves, the freedom that has been afforded to them by the management helps them in picking up wickets more frequently.
"The thing is very simple. They are told to go for wickets at all times. When you are going for wickets you are bowling in areas that are uncomfortable for the batsmen and more often than not they end up defending. When you bowl wide and try to save runs then you give an opportunity to take singles also,” Kohli said.
"So I think all the credit has to go to them because they've executed those lines and lengths perfectly. They've always, every over they've asked two-three questions of the batsmen, that is something outstanding. I haven't seen that before. Every over they might pick up two wickets, that is the kind of belief they have in their abilities. The team has a belief in them, the team is backing them," said Kohli.
The skipper also showed his confidence on the duo to perform in the upcoming World Cup. The championship will be taking place in England & Wales away from home conditions, and their ability to turn on any pitch will come in handy.
"They might get hit for 70-odd in the next game. But there is no problem in that because you know that if they bowl attacking lines then they will end up picking two-three wickets every game. In these conditions now and we are going to play the World Cup away from home, that I think is going to be the massive x-factor for us."