They were the toast of the nation going into the 2019 World Cup in England but in the last four years, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal have seen more downs than ups.
Kuldeep had career-threatening knee surgery in 2021 while Chahal has been repeatedly ignored for important T20 games and global meets. They would want to change their wheels of fortune.
However, with India’s ODI World Cup preparations starting with the three-match series against Australia, starting Friday, the famed ‘Kul-Cha’ would love to serve a platter of googlies, leg-breaks, and flippers that their fans would like to savor. (Ahead of IND vs AUS 1st ODI, India Coach Says Shreyas Iyer Has Been Ruled Out Of Series – Read Here)
Several members of the Indian cricket team including the stand-in captain Hardik Pandya Wednesday began training here at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday but all eyes were on the two wrist spinners as they need to battle it out with Ravindra Jadeja and Washington Sundar, two multi-skilled cricketers, who are also part of this squad.
Both Kuldeep and Chahal, aren’t the most accomplished of batters, although the UP left-arm wrist spinner has had some degree of success at the Test level.
However both Washington and Jadeja come as a package but purely on tweaker’s skills, the two wrist spinners are ahead compared to finger spinners.
India’s regular captain Rohit Sharma will miss the first ODI in Mumbai due to family commitments and the stand-in captain for the match, Pandya, was among those who trained for more than two hours with the white ball.
Among the other players who were in attendance were fast bowlers Mohammed Siraj, Jaydev Unadkat, Umran Malik, Shardul Thakur, and among batters, Suryakumar Yadav and wicketkeeper-batsman Ishan Kishan.
While India head coach Rahul Dravid did not attend the session, the other members of the coaching staff, batting coach Vikram Rathour, fielding coach T Dilip and bowling coach Paras Mhambrey were present along with throw-down specialists Raghavendra and Nuwan Seneviratne.
India’s preferred choice for the No. 5 spot and wicketkeeping duties, KL Rahul, who was dropped from the team after the first two Tests at Nagpur and New Delhi, was also among the absentees. Pandya, who is also the designated vice-captain for the series, did light bowling practice and also tried leg breaks in one of the adjacent nets to Kishan.
While Suryakumar, Kishan, and Pandya had long stints with the bat, Siraj, who featured till the third Test in Indore, also spent a lot of time batting against spinners and fast bowlers.
Suryakumar mostly had a conventional approach in the nets with an odd aggressive shot, but captain Pandya did chance his arms whenever the opportunity presented itself. The Australian players also had a training session here late in the afternoon.