Kuldeep ‘enjoying’ Bazball: ‘It has made bowlers plan how to restrict runs’

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Kuldeep Yadav has said Bazball posed an interesting challenge because it not only created more wicket-taking opportunities but also made the bowlers think about restricting batters.

“Usually in Tests you’re not used to teams attacking you with this kind of approach [Bazball], but it also involves you a lot more,” Kuldeep said. “As a spinner it makes you more focused on how you want to bowl and what your approach is.

“Normally when you play Test, you don’t worry about batters attacking you, you’re only focused on how you want to get them out. But here the approach is different, they’re in attacking mode so you also have to plan how to restrict them.

“When they play shots, you have those many opportunities to take wickets. It’s interesting. The last game was my first [against Bazball], I enjoyed it a lot, it’s good for cricket.”

The Vizag Test was only Kuldeep’s ninth Test since debuting in March 2017. It was also his first in over 15 months. Kuldeep picked up three of his four wickets in the first innings as India pocketed a 143-run lead that proved to be decisive.

“It’s been good,” Kuldeep said with a smile when asked about how he’s feeling, having finally had an opportunity. “Whatever Tests I’ve played, I’ve performed well. I have three five-for, so yeah it feels good when you see the stats. I’m very happy.”

India have veered away from preparing rank turners so far in this series. This could potentially bring Kuldeep into the mix again even if Jadeja returns – which Kuldeep seemed to hint at – given he brings with him a wicket-taking threat. Kuldeep’s accuracy and extra bounce in Vizag made him much more threatening than Axar Patel.

Kuldeep saw the lighter side of the question when asked if him attending the pre-match press conference two days out was any indication that he was in the frame to keep his place.

“Am not sure of my position,” he said. “If I get the opportunity, I’ll be more than happy. I don’t think too much about whether am playing or not. I just enjoy my day and keep working hard. Combination is such a thing that it matters in a team game. As simple as that.”

Kuldeep needed no reminders of the fact that his previous visit to Rajkot for a Test brought him a five-for, against West Indies in 2018. He did admit, though, that the surface didn’t seem like it would be a “rank turner”.

“It’ll be a batting wicket,” he said. ‘It doesn’t mean there’ll be 700-800 runs scored. It’ll be a good wicket. It won’t be a rank turner, it will be a live wicket, good for cricket.”

Why has there been a sudden shift?

“I haven’t played on rank turners, I don’t know what the approach or thought is, it’s a team management decision,” Kuldeep offered. “Obviously everyone wants to watch good cricket. I don’t know if I’ll get an opportunity or not, but whether it’s flat wicket or rank turner, I enjoy it. I think batting is also important, not just spin bowling. Fast bowling comes into the game as well. It’s good for cricket. It’s not like you’ll see rank turners only, but hopefully you’ll see it [laughs].”



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