Skipper KL Rahul on Sunday admitted that India had lost the services of left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav in the second innings, but said he has “no regrets” about leaving him out of the final Test against Bangladesh. Since his match-winning 188-run match in India’s Chattogram Test, Kuldeep Jaydev was benched for an extra seam at Unadkat, a decision that was scuttled by the likes of Sunil Gavaskar. “I don’t regret the decision. It was the right decision. If you look at the wickets, our fast bowlers have also taken a lot of wickets and had a lot of help. There were a lot of inconsistent bounces,” Rahul said in defence. his decision during the post-match media interaction.
While struggling for 74 behind a difficult 145 on the fourth day’s track, India survived a scare as Ravichandran Ashwin and Shreyas Iyer pulled off a formidable three-run chase with an unbroken eighth-wicket partnership of 71 runs.
“We took the decision keeping in mind our experience of playing here in ODIs. We saw that there is support for spin and bounce. It was about having a balanced side and I think it was the right call,” he added.
Kuldeep made an impressive comeback after 22 months, returning with an eight-wicket haul and also scored a daring 40 in a crucial low-order partnership with Ashwin. He was also named man of the match in the opening Test at Chattogram.
“It was a really tough call, knowing we had won the last Test. But looking at the pitch a day before the game, we thought there would be support for the fast bowlers and seamers and we wanted to play with that in mind. The best and most balanced team we can,” Rahul said. .
The team felt Kuldeep’s absence especially in Bangladesh’s second Test, when India had a crucial first innings of 87 runs to knock out the home team.
Bangladesh were 70 for 4 but made 231.
In retrospect, Rahul said he would have liked to have bowled Kuldeep in the second innings if he had the option of the ‘Impact Player’ rule to make his debut in next year’s IPL.
“Ideally, if the Impact Player rule was there – like in the IPL – I would have liked to bring in Kuldeep in the second innings,” Rahul said.
The ‘Super Sub’ Impact Player rule, which debuted in Big Bash 2020 and saw Syed Mushtaq Ali in domestic T20s this season, means each team can make one substitution in a match.
Each team will present four substitutes in the draw and any of them can be included as an ‘Impact Player’.
The two-Test series has been disastrous for Rahul (57 runs, average: 14.25) and Virat Kohli (45 runs; 15.00), but the chief skipper has been blamed for his transition from white-ball to red-ball cricket.
“When you’re playing all three formats, it’s a little difficult to jump from one format to another. Personally, it takes a while to get back in the groove and understand it, to get yourself back to what you’re doing well.
“Each format is a challenge to find out how quickly you adapt… It’s a challenge that excites me.
“Obviously, the performance in this series was not great. I can accept that. I tried my best and it didn’t work. I can look ahead and see what I can do better next time,” he added.
Blaming their tight schedule, Rahul said, “Unfortunately, our schedules are too tight for some players who play in all formats to do that and get used to it too quickly.
“But that’s the challenge for us. Ideally, we wanted a lot more time between the red ball and the white ball to get used to it, to get our spirits back to play red ball cricket and develop some patience and practice.” Iyer had a prolific series as he averaged 101 with two fifties. He was the second leading run-getter behind Cheteshwar Pujara with 202 runs (222) and his reassuring presence, especially in the second innings, calmed things down.
“He has been in the team for a long time. I am very happy with him, he took the opportunity with both hands. The way he played today was incredible. He made it look very easy,” said Rahul.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)
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