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India’s White Ball Spin Bowling Should Revolve Around Kuldeep: Murali Kartik

As India builds its batting around Virat Kohli or Rohit Sharma, the spin bowling should revolve around Kuldeep, say Murali Kartik.

Dillip Mohanty
Dillip Mohanty

Last Updated: 2024-03-20

Umaima Saeed

5 minutes read

The 2024 England tour of India, in which India won 4-1, produced some riveting cricket moments and unearthed some young talents and some forgotten ones from India. Alongside Ravichandran Ashwin's record of playing his 100th Test and picking 500 wickets, James Anderson’s 700th wicket and Bumrah’s best bowling average in Tests ranking after Sydney Barns – another bowler quietly came up with his best performance in a Test series and strongly claimed a permanent spot in the Indian team. That is Kuldeep Yadav.

Speaking exclusively with, the ex-India spin bowler turned cricket commentator Murali Kartik argues that Kuldeep should be a constant feature in every Test match and that the white ball spin bowling attack of India should revolve around him.

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The 29-year-old left-arm wrist spinner from Uttar Pradesh, Kuldeep, who made his Test cricket in Dharamsala in 2017, concluded the series at the same scenic venue with a player-of-the-match performance. He claimed 9 wickets in the fifth Test, ending the series with a total of 19 wickets across 4 matches. His performance is statistically the second-best among all bowlers with the best bowling average and strike rate. 

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Imagine Kuldeep’s strike rate and average in Test matches. It is outstanding. You can put him in the same bracket as some of the greats of the game.

Murali Kartik on Kuldeep's overall Test record

Kuldeep was not picked up for the first Test in Hyderabad. In the pecking order, Kuldeep was the fourth spin option behind Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel. A better batter than Kuldeep, Axar got the nod as the third spinner. Jadeja’s hamstring injury in the Hyderabad Test provided an opportunity for Kuldeep to play the second Test at Visakhapatnam.

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Image Credit: BCCI

Kuldeep Yadav's contribution to cricket is commendable, particularly in red-ball cricket despite many omissions. His remarkable strike rate and average reflect his talent, comparable to cricketing greats. Kuldeep has played 12 Test matches in 7 years picking up 53 wickets. In Test cricket, only six bowlers have taken 50-plus wickets with an average below 25 and a strike rate below 40. Kuldeep is one among them. India has won 10 out of 12 Test matches when Kuldeep is part of the team, but at the same time, he has missed 56 matches for India.

Kuldeep’s versatility and attacking mindset make him a valuable asset in any format. His eagerness to perform well, coupled with his skilful bowling, positions him as a reliable wicket-taker in various situations, said Murali Kartik.

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For me, Kuldeep was always in the white-ball scheme of things. You need to have an attacking option. You need to have somebody who's also got an attacking mindset. Kuldeep is a wicket-taker, and he is an attacking option.

Murali Kartik arguing on Kuldeep's inclusion in Test

It has been hard for him to find a permanent spot in the playing 11 given India has two other outstanding spinners in Ashwin and Jadeja. Sometimes Kuldeep has been plain unlucky when comes to selection. Kuldeep picked up a five wicket haul in the 2019 tour of Australia in Sydney in January 2019. But he was not selected for the following Test series in West Indies. He picked up a five-wicket haul against Bangladesh in Chattogram in December 2022. He was dropped for the following Test at Dhaka. The next Test match he played was in Visakhapatnam two years later in 2024.

Expressing his disappointment in the inconsistency of picking Kuldeep in the side, Kartik said, it shouldn't be that when it comes to dropping somebody, it is always Kuldeep Yadav. He's the first one who gets sidelined. No, you don't want that.

The spin bowling strategy, particularly in white-ball cricket, should revolve around Kuldeep Yadav, similar to how the batting is structured around players like Kohli or Rohit Sharma. Yadav's versatility and effectiveness in various game situations make him a pivotal figure in shaping the team's spin bowling approach, said Kartik.

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Image credit: BCCI

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Like you have your batting based around Virat Kohli or Rohit Sharma, I would say that your spin bowling should be based around Kuldeep.

Murali Kartik on the importance of Kuldeep

In red-ball cricket, you have Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. But in white ball cricket, what Kuldeep provides in any situation of the game, I think the spin bowling should be centred around Kuldeep. Like India’s batting is based around Virat Kohli or Rohit Sharma, I would say that the spin bowling should be based around Kuldeep, said Kartik.

Kuldeep’s cricket career has gone through many ups and downs. He has worked hard to iron out his flaws and managed to bounce back all the time with great performances. Given his success in recent Test cricket Kuldeep is in the course to be the mainstay of India’s spin bowling in the coming years.

Dillip Mohanty
Dillip MohantySports Editor

Dillip has over two decades of experience in creating sports content. As the Sports Editor of SportsBoom, Dillip brings in a wealth of experience and expertise to the role. Dillip has worked with leading sports broadcasters and sports web content portals in Asia. He is an adept storyteller and has a special liking for data stories. He has a keen interest in data analysis and uncovering insights from large datasets. He loves to tell the story with rich and compelling data visualisation.