Kuldeep should be the lone spinner in team: Srinath

Javagal Srinath

There may be a clamour for two wrist spinners in the squad for the World Cup but Javagal Srinath believes only one of them -- and preferably Kuldeep Yadav -- should travel to the United Kingdom for the tournament.

“I think four fast bowlers, seven batsmen and a spinner (besides a backup opener, wicketkeeper and a fast-bowling all-rounder) will be an ideal combination,” Srinath told DH, talking about his ideal combination for the big bash.

“I think Kuldeep Yadav will fit the (spinner’s) bill well as he still has that surprise element about him. I don’t think there is a need for two spinners. There should be just one spinner and Kuldeep should be the one. You need unconventional practitioners to surprise the opponents. So Kuldeep brings that quality to the table just as (Jasprit) Bumrah with his different action does,” he observed.

Vijay Shankar has won many fans over with his batting exploits and occasional but crucial breakthroughs but the former India pacer feels one all-rounder was enough and that should be Hardik Pandya, who is recuperating from injury, as he is a proven player.  

Srinath is also a firm believer in having a specialist back-up opener rather than go for a make-shift arrangement. 

“Opening partnership will be crucial,” he noted. “There’s a greater depth in the middle-order but openers’ role will be crucial. There should be a back-up specialist opener when you are going into such big tournaments. You want someone who has been doing that job for you for a while and someone who is comfortable doing that job. Stopgap is no solution even if it’s a short-term plan. By making a middle-order batsman open, you probably may end up disturbing the rest of the combination,” he reasoned.   

While an overwhelming number of people have batted in support of M S Dhoni, there is a tiny population that doesn’t want the ageing warrior in the squad. Srinath backed Dhoni, underlining his value to the side beyond his primary duties of batting and wicketkeeping.    

“Dhoni is going to be a crucial cog,” he said. “He is the man -- from where he bats to what he does behind the stumps to how he guides the bowlers and sets the fields... The way he guides the captain whoever it may be, I think in that aspect he is going to be invaluable to the team. He is always there doing the right things and he is a wonderful guide for the bowlers. If we have won a lot of matches bowling second, I would attribute it to not just his skills behind the wickets but to his cricketing acumen.”

Srinath isn’t particular about where Dhoni should bat. “Where he bats in the order is up to the team management. It depends on the form of other players, the situation of the game and the conditions at that time,” he pointed out.

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Kuldeep should be the lone spinner in team: Srinath

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