After a late injury to Axar Patel, India opted to go with one left-arm spinner and two off-spinners, a decision which hasn’t gone down well with Harbhajan Singh. Irked by Kuldeep’s omission, Harbhajan has remarked that Kuldeep’s presence in the playing XI would have given a bit of variety.
As it stands, India have opted to go with two off-spinners, in the form of Washington Sundar and Ravichandran Ashwin in the ongoing Chennai Test, omitting Kuldeep Yadav. While it is learnt that the decision was made after a last-minute injury to Axar Patel, it hasn’t left the former Indian players happy. Several players have flocked since the team was announced, to criticise the management of favouring the Chennai all-rounder over Kuldeep Yadav.
Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh too has joined the list, remarking that it doesn’t make any sense to play two off-spinners at the Chepauk, while still having Kuldeep on the bench. He also added that it was understandable for him why the management insisted with Shahbaz Nadeem when Axar Patel was deemed injured.
"It was astonishing for me to see Kuldeep Yadav not get a chance in Team India's playing XI despite him being in the squad. I can understand that since Axar Patel is injured, Shahbaz Nadeem came in as a like-for-like replacement. But it doesn't make sense to play two off-spinners in Chennai," Harbhajan told Sports Tak, reported HT.
Since the Sydney Test, where Kuldeep picked up a fifer, the unorthodox left-arm spinner has been sidelined for the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja in the past. This year, the list has been extended to Washington Sundar and Shahbaz Nadeem, who have edged past the uncanny spinner. While India looked toothless on the first day, Harbhajan pointed out that Kuldeep could have made a difference.
"Kuldeep Yadav's presence would have added a bit of variety to this Indian bowling attack. In the last two Tests that Kuldeep Yadav played, he had picked up five-wicket hauls. So I am completely baffled by his exclusion," Harbhajan asserted.
"This is also not a great sign for his confidence because it demoralizes you even further when you are a part of the squad but still can't make it to the playing XI."