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Australia v India

‘Benched since forever’ – Fans react to Kuldeep’s exclusion in Brisbane

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

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.

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.

Harsha Bhogle too, wondered if India could’ve strengthened their spin department a bit more.


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