‘There is no issue with skill or headspace’: Kohli on Kuldeep Yadav’s exclusion from Playing XI

India’s ace spinner Kuldeep Yadav can be considered as one of the most unlucky cricketers of recent times. Despite finding a place in the Indian squad for almost all the tours, the spinner has found it extremely hard to break into the playing XI. After a long wait of almost two years, Kuldeep finally made a comeback for India in the longest format as he was a part of India’s playing XI for the second Test against England in Chennai.

However, the chinaman bowler bowled just a little over 12 overs in the Test and was replaced by Washington Sundar in the third Test. This move by the Indian team raised a lot of eyebrows. But skipper Virat Kohli clarified that Kuldeep’s exclusion from the Playing XI had nothing to do with his skillset or headspace. Kohli asserted that the 26-year-old was not in the Playing XI due to the team combination.

“There is no issue with skill or headspace. His (Kuldeep Yadav’s) game is absolutely precise. He is bowling better than he has ever bowled before. Combinations, we need to make sure we cover all facets of the game and have our strongest talented squad on the park,” Virat Kohli said during the press conference on the eve of the fourth Test.

When Jadeja is playing, Kuldeep comes into the picture: Virat Kohli

India’s celebrated all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja had sustained a thumb injury during the third Test of the four-match Border Gavaskar Trophy between India and Australia and hasn’t featured in a single match since then. Axar Patel came as a replacement for Jadeja in the Test series against England and has performed exceptionally well so far.

Kohli believes that Kuldeep would have definitely played the Tests if Jadeja was included in the Playing XI as the all-rounder comes in handy with the bat.

“See when Jadeja is playing, Kuldeep comes into the picture because of Jadeja’s experience with the bat and the number of times he has done the job for the team. Kuldeep is a very skillful bowler and will always be in consideration for whatever games we have in front of us,” Kohli concluded.

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