India, plagued by injuries, went into the Brisbane Test with a highly inexperienced bowling attack, with Washington Sundar being preferred ahead of Kuldeep Yadav as the lone spinner.
With Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin having sustained injuries during the last Test in Sydney, India, forced to go with a new look bowling attack, went with four seamers and one spin-bowling option in the playing XI. Shardul Thakur, who could bowl just 1.4 overs on his Test debut against the West Indies in 2018 due to a groin injury made the cut, with Washington Sundar and T Natarajan being the two debutants.
India’s decision to go with a four-prong pace attack stems from the traditional reputation of the Gabba pitch, which is known to aid pace and bounce. Kuldeep Yadav, who had picked up a five-for in his last Test appearance — against Australia in Sydney in 2018/19 — was the most notable absentee and his exclusion prompted varied reactions.
Sanjay Manjrekar cited “India’s insecurity with their batting, especially not long after their dramatic 36 all-out collapse two Tests ago”, for going with the all-round option of Washington Sundar in the pre-match show. Meanwhile, Shane Warne, who himself picked up 68 wickets at 20.30 at the venue, expressed his astonishment on air, stating India went for a relatively defensive option and further added that Kuldeep could’ve even played in place of a fourth seamer.
Warne prefers Kuldeep should have played today. pic.twitter.com/V8rTMxPyqY
— Pradhip (@pradtwits) January 15, 2021
The fans seemed overly disappointed at the left-arm wrist spinner’s exclusion. While Washington Sundar can be considered as a like-for-like replacement for the all-rounder Jadeja, his limited experience of merely 12 first-class games, with the last one coming in 2017, was highlighted.
Shastri: After 2019 Sydney test, Kuldeep is going to be our No 1 spinner across all formats. Hasn’t played a test since then
— Rahul Viswanathan (@Rv__97) January 14, 2021
Really though, someone please explain what crime has Kuldeep committed to miss out here. Has a fiver in the last test, and that was in freaking Australia. Is a decent FC bat too, not like he’s a mug or anything.
— Mr. Chocolate Hazelnut Spread (@basedIITian) January 14, 2021
Kuldeep is now like benched since forever 😐
— Unnati🦋 (@caramelcrust) January 15, 2021
I’m not buying ‘Washi is brought in for batting depth’ nonsense. Kuldeep didn’t get much to bat at international and IPL but this is his batting record in FC. He can definitely bat. pic.twitter.com/432OGA6eN7
— Prakash (@JamesBond49) January 14, 2021
The ‘best overseas spinner’ doesn’t even get a spot in an India ‘A’ bowling line-up. Oh, how low has Kuldeep gone in the pecking order? #INDvAUS
— Devdutt Kshirsagar (@ddkshirsagar) January 15, 2021
What a bad precedent for other cricketers. Sundar has played only 12 first class games that too 2 years ago, since then he is not even selected by TamilNadu for Ranji trophy. How he is playing ahead of Kuldeep who got 2 fifers in test match cricket is beyond me…
— Ash (@Ayadav1808) January 15, 2021
In Test cricket for India. Sundar playing ahead of Kuldeep falls in that category, while the others Natarajan and Thakur were already there. Shastri has been part of two dramatic decisions, once as vice captain and now as coach
— Chandresh Narayanan (@chand2579) January 15, 2021
Harsha Bhogle too, wondered if India could’ve strengthened their spin department a bit more.
Just wonder if India could have played Kuldeep Yadav for one of the quicks…..
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) January 15, 2021