In what was considered a controversial decision back in December, experienced spin duo Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were not picked up for the South Africa ODI tour. Wrist-spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal were picked up instead. What followed was Kuldeep and Chahal’s unstoppable spin attack that led the South African top order stumbling through the ODI Series.
R Ashwin's last One-Day International was in June last year while Ravindra Jadeja last played an ODI in July when India toured to West Indies. Talking about their T20 venture, their last game came on the same tour when they were part of the one-off match. Since then, the two have been rested and now it is unsure if the Ashwin-Jadeja duo, who were once MSD’s favorites in the field, will make a comeback in the Indian dressing room.
With the upcoming World Cup 2019 just a year away, India is looking forward to winning the title for the third time given the fact that we are currently the best team in the world. Ideally, India will start their title hunt with an experienced team which may include players like Ashwin, Jadeja, and Suresh Raina. But with the circumstances that have emerged after the SA tour, things may not go as planned.
Kuldeep and Chahal have definitely earned their place in the team as India pulled off a historic series win. In his own words, skipper Kohli has already hinted his wish to play the duo in the world cup next year and it seems currently there is no way the two can be rested or made to sit out. "I don't have words to explain this. Credit to them. Both have been working hard on their game. Both are very brave in terms of how they bowl and the kind of fields they want as well. They are very brave tossing the ball and asking the batsman to come out and play a risky shot. Hats off to them but the other debate is a bit away from now. You never know what happens in the future but I am really happy at the moment. Those are things that are quite a bit away from now," Kohli said when asked about the Test chances of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, especially away from home.
He further added, "Look they are obviously making a very strong case for themselves, bowling in these conditions and making breakthroughs like we haven't seen before. It's outstanding to see two guys just totally spinning a web around the opposition. There doesn't seem to be a way out at all. It's unbelievable. Taking eight wickets today. Outstanding,” Kohli had said earlier praising the duo.
Ashwin and Jadeja have not featured in matches and according to stats, India has won 30 of their 47 matches since the 2015 World Cup with a bowling average of 5.3 per over which accounts up to less than 60 runs in 10 overs. But sadly this strong improvement in spin bowling has very little to do with the experienced duo of Ashwin and Jadeja who have played less than 50% of the matches.
What the World Cup 2019 team will look like is a mystery but when it comes to having an edge over the experienced players, Kuldeep and Chahal have surely earned themselves a spot.