Kuldeep Yadav's surprise absence from the Indian side for the second Test against Bangladesh following his previous match heroics has prompted Harbhajan Singh wonder if the left-arm wrist spinner "would be better off" without "player of the match" accolades.
Kuldeep, who returned to test cricket after 22 months, grabbed eight wickets, including a career-best 5/40, and scored 40 important runs before being omitted for the second game at Mirpur to make room for Saurashtra seamer Jaydev Unadkat. The decision to dismiss Kuldeep perplexed India's best spinner, Harbhajan.
“I think from now on, Kuldeep should stop taking five-wicket hauls. Who knows that he might just get to play two Test matches in a row!” a sarcastic Harbhajan told PTI when his reaction was sought. “Like last time when he got a five-for, before Chattogram Test, was against Australia in Sydney (5/99) in different conditions. He was supposed to be India's No. 1 spinner in overseas conditions but he had to wait for more than two years to play a Test.
“Now he played after nearly two years again and has been dropped again. Would love to know the rationale,” said Harbhajan, one of the four Indian bowlers to have taken 400-plus wickets.
Despite Umesh Yadav and Unadkat's six wickets, the pitch wasn't seamer-friendly. Ashwin took four wickets. Bangladesh captain Shkib Al Hasan turned a few on a pitch that favored spinners.
The "Turbanator" also believed that "security" had become a buzzword in Indian cricket without any action. “Some Test players received a long rope, up to five years. Kuldeep's security lasts five days.
“How does one feel safe if he gets dropped after taking eight wickets. Can he play fearless cricket when all that the team management has done is to instil fear in him?” questioned Harbhajan.
Harbhajan said, “You can never perform if a sword hangs over your head. I only hope that Kuldeep doesn’t lose confidence because of this as he is someone who should be serving India for another good 8-10 years,” he added.