With a 124-run win in Cape Town in the 3rd ODI against South Africa, India took an unassailable 3-0 lead in the 6-match ODI series. Captain Virat Kohli himself displayed excellent cricket, scoring two centuries and one unbeaten 46 in the series. However, majority of the credit for dominating the hosts will go to the two Indian spinners, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, who have till now taken a combined total of 21 wickets at an average of 9.05, with a combined economy of 3.63.
Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav could be in India’s Test squad
Speaking after the 3rd ODI, Virat Kohli was clearly pleased with the performance of his two spinners, who have pushed the South African batsmen in all sorts of trouble till now. The 29-year-old India captain believes that if the duo can continue performing at such high levels, especially in overseas conditions, they could soon be in contention for a spot in India’s Test squad.
Speaking about Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav’s performance, and their chances to enter the Test format, Virat Kohli said, as reported by ESPN Cricinfo,
“Look they (Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav) 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 (3rd ODI). Outstanding.”
“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.”
Virat Kohli was confident that Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav would do well in the limited-overs series i.e., the ongoing ODI series and upcoming T20I series. However, Virat Kohli expressed that he had never imagined the duo to deliver how they have in the ODI series against South Africa, especially the 3rd ODI.
Virat Kohli said, “We knew they will pick up wickets because wrist-spinners, these guys have bowled in flatter batting tracks at home. Some might think they have bowled in T20 cricket when the conditions are very very difficult and they have picked up wickets on a regular basis, you know.”
“They (Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav) feel at the top of their game when they have the pitches supporting them even a little bit. But they are very brave and even on flatter pitches, wrist-spinners will also come into play and they have made that difference in the game.”
The performance of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav has largely come from the confidence that captain Virat Kohli and the Indian team management have given them. They have been instructed to attack and go for wickets even if it means that they leak some runs in the process. Speaking about the same, Virat Kohli said,
“They are told to go for wickets at all times. When you are going for wickets you are bowling in areas that are uncomfortable for the batsmen and more often than not they end up defending. When you bowl wide and try to save runs then you give an opportunity to take singles also.”
“So I think all the credit has to go to them because they’ve executed those lines and lengths perfectly. They’ve always, every over they’ve asked two-three questions of the batsmen, that is something outstanding. I haven’t seen that before. Every over they might pick up two wickets, that is the kind of belief they have in their abilities. The team has a belief in them, the team is backing them.”
“They might get hit for 70-odd in the next game. But there is no problem in that because you know that if they bowl attacking lines then they will end up picking two-three wickets every game. In these conditions now and we are going to play the World Cup away from home, that I think is going to be the massive X-factor for us.”
South Africa praise Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav
Both Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have been praised by current and former players alike, but the most important praise has come from the opposition, South Africa, who have admitted that it’s quite difficult to pick either of the two spinners, especially when they are bowling at optimum pace, at lengths which make it difficult for the batsmen to even take singles off their bowling, something which was evident in the 3rd ODI as well.