Image Credit: PTI
Former Indian cricketer Rahul Dravid on Sunday opened up on spinner Kuldeep Yadav's exclusion from the Indian Test squad that will be touring England next month for the World Test Championship (WTC) final. Dravid, who was speaking during a webinar organised by Live Aid India, said that spinners such as Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, and Axar Patel may have been picked ahead of Kuldeep because they also possess the ability to bat when required. The former Indian skipper said that Sundar, Jadeja, and Axar have played some match-defining games in recent times, which may have prompted the selectors to pick them instead of Kuldeep, calling it a "balanced" side.
"It does seem balanced. It’s a 20-member squad. The only other one who could have merited selection would’ve been Kuldeep Yadav, but he’s fallen away over the last little bit. Also, with the kind of recent performances from Axar Patel, Ravindra Jadeja, and Washington Sundar, they’re clear about the kind of balance they want in the squad. With both Ashwin and Jadeja adding value with the bat and having like-for-like replacements in Axar and Washy [Washington Sundar], they’re clear about the direction they want to take. It lengthens their batting and all four finger spinners here allow them to do that. The make-up of the squad tells me they know their best XI even before they leave from here," Dravid said.
Kuldeep Yadav was a regular member of the Indian squad prior to the announcement of the Test team that is slated to tour England in June. Kuldeep was part of the Test squad that had travelled to Australia earlier this year, where he failed to get an opportunity despite several senior players sustaining injuries and opening up the door for others in the side. The Kanpur-born cricketer was also present in the dugout when India locked horns against England for a four-match Test series at home, where he even played one match. He was then selected in the ODI playing XI against England in March but was dropped again ahead of the final match of the series.
India will play a one-off Test against New Zealand starting June 18 in the inaugural final of the World Test Championship. India will then lock horns against host England for a five-match Test series. The BCCI on Friday announced the squad for the championship and the subsequent Test series against England.
India’s 20-member squad: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane (VC), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (WK), R. Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, KL Rahul (subject to fitness clearance), Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper; subject to fitness clearance).
Standby players: Abhimanyu Easwaran, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, Arzan Nagwaswalla