Kuldeep will come into play in the Caribbean: Rahul Dravid

PTI, Jun 20, 2024, 8:13 AM IST

Kuldeep Yadav (Credit: X / @ICC)

Bridgetown: Without giving too much away, India head coach Rahul Dravid hinted at the possibility of playing wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav in the Caribbean leg of the T20 World Cup, starting with the Super 8 opener against Afghanistan.

India did not play either Kuldeep or Yuzvendra Chahal in the USA leg of the tournament considering the pace-friendly conditions. However, the conditions are different in the Caribbean where wrist spinners have already made an impact with Adam Zampa being a case in point.

India could drop a pacer and include Kuldeep in the team

How tough was it to leave Kuldeep, who has been India’s standout spinner over the past 12 months, out of playing eleven in USA?

“It’s tough to leave anyone out. I mean all the four guys that we left out in those games, to be honest, are all quality players. It’s just that the conditions and what we felt was the requirement in that particular venue made us go with that particular combination where we felt that there wasn’t a huge role for spin and it was more of pace more of kind of conditions.

“And we also wanted to ensure that we had the depth on those tricky kind of tickets . So that’s what we went there with. You know, it might be different here. Without giving too much away, certainly. You know, it might be slightly different here. That you might need an extra spinner and then someone like Kuldeep or Yuzi can come into play. They become a very good factor for us,” said Dravid ahead of the Afghanistan fixture.

We have definitely pushed the needle in batting

India were guilty of being too conservative in their approach in the previous two editions of T20 World Cup but Dravid feels the team has turned the tide on that front.

“We have actually been to be able to push the needle forward in terms of our batting there. Sometimes in certain conditions, you just got to be mindful of conditions also. Sometimes we just get carried away with pushing the needle forward in T20 cricket.

“Cricket is a very condition specific game. It’s one of the only sports left where the surface makes such an impact on the actual skill levels, the actual performance levels, what is an acceptable performance level.

“It’s one sport that we play that where the surface makes a huge difference and it has to be brought into consideration at all times. And I think we saw that in the US that had to be brought into consideration not only for us but for other teams as well,” said the outgoing India coach.

Dravid expects the wind to be a factor at the Kensington Oval on Thursday, bringing the fast bowlers like tournament’s leading wicket taker Fazalhaq Farooqi into play.

“It is not just their spinners, their pacers are also experienced and doing well. Afghanistan is a very dangerous team in this format of the game. They play a lot of T20 cricket and their cricketers are very prominent members of their IPL teams. They have showed that with their performances in the World Cup.”

Dravid loves the cricket culture in the Caribbean and is looking forward to the business end of the tournament. He was cheekily reminded by a scribe on India’s infamous Test defeat against the West Indies at this venue back in 1997 when the visitors were bundled out for 81 chasing 120 on a treacherous pitch.

“ It’s also now lovely to come to the Caribbean, you know, come to Barbados, come to this ground which has a great history, a great tradition of great… country and this region. We’ve had a couple of days of really good practice. We are ready, we rested, we feel we are prepared.”

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